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PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PEWAUKEE, WI PERMIT #1289 HACKED Forget the big chains. Is your store secure? Clicks to Bricks Drive digital consumers through your doors. Cool Factor Furniture is hot again. Can we keep it hip? APRIL 2015


Forget the big home furnishings chains. Is your store secure?

Transcript of April 2015 — Hacked

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l. 4 Issu

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urity April Issue







HACKEDForget the big chains.Is your store secure?

Clicks to Bricks Drive digital consumersthrough your doors.

Cool Factor Furniture is hot again.Can we keep it hip?

APRIL 2015

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Select one pillow or a hundred pillows from our quality selection of 1,000+—a choice (poly or down-filled) to suit every taste and budget—for delivery within 48 hours.


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� e best selection of home accessories, creative merchandising solutions and unsurpassed sales support—together in one showroom—to give you more ways to pro� t and inspire your success.





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� e best selection of home accessories, creative merchandising solutions and unsurpassed sales support—together in one showroom—to give you more ways to pro� t and inspire your success.







© 2015 National Geographic Society. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and Yellow Border Design are trademarks of the National Geographic Society, used under license. All rights reserved.

See us in High Point4/18 - 4/23

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in each issue04. NAHFA President’s Message06. Editor's Message10. Retailer2Retailer/Inspired Reading32. Product Focus The Cool Factor68. The Scoop70. Industry Calendar72. The NOW List

Membership52. Make the Most of High Point Market 64. Networking News

features12. Hacked Are you Protected?18. Retailer of the Year Nominations 26. NGN Spotlight: Alex Jaffee38. High Point Spring Preview44. Your RRC Guide for High Point

Technology08. TechNOW54. Clicks to Bricks

Operations30. Teaching Customer Service36. Rebuild Your Brand56. Growing Pains60. There’s Money in Mattresses

You don’t have to be Target or Home Depot to have you computer system hacked. Suburban Contemporary Furnishings owner Jeff Burt found this out the hard way. Learn how to protect your business on page 12. Furniture is cool again. Learn how it’s going to take all of us to keep it that way on page 32. Heading to High Point? Find out how the Retail Resource Center can help you on page 52.

departmentsSales & Marketing28. Get in Line Aligning Operating Expenses




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Contact Information:Mailing – Editorial and Advertising

500 Giuseppe Ct., Suite 6

Roseville CA 95678

Online: retailerNOWmag.comPhone: Editorial: (800) 422-3778 Advertising: (800) 422-3778





Subscription: $70/year

RetailerNOW, ISSN# 2166-5249, is published monthly (except March and December) by the North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville, CA 95678. Application to Mail at the Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Roseville, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please address changes to: RetailerNOW, The North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville CA 95678.

If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to [email protected].

If you would like to only receive an electronic version of RetailerNOW, please send an email to [email protected]. © 2015 North American Home Furnishings Association. Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association. Material herein may not be reproduced, copied or reprinted without prior written consent of the publisher. Acceptance of advertising or indication of sponsorship does not imply endorsement of publisher or the North American Home Furnishings Association. The views expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the publisher, editor or the North American Home Furnishings Association, and North American Retail Services Corp. Content herein is for general information only; readers are encouraged to consult their own attorney, accountant, tax expert and other professionals for specific advice before taking any action.

What we are so passionate about. . .

To have the courage to pursue purposeful dialogues that challenge conventional thinking, to engage and entertain our readers by delivering content that creates a fervent following ready to change the landscape of our industry.

RetailerNOW is the magazine for today’s home furnishings professional. Developed for a specialized community, RetailerNOW brings a unique editorial focus on progressive and relevant issues concerning the home furnishings industry in the retailer’s voice, with a focus on issues impacting retailers NOW.

RetailerNOW StaffLisa Casinger Editorial Director [email protected] Bell Editor [email protected] Tilley Creative Director [email protected] Nygaard Sales Executive [email protected] Funke Webmaster [email protected]

Retail Advisory Team

Carol Bell Contents Interiors Tucson, AZ Travis Garrish Forma Furniture Fort Collins, CO Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings Boca Raton, FLMike Luna Pedigo’s Furniture Livingston, TX Andrew Tepperman Tepperman's Windsor, ON

Membership StaffKaprice Crawford Membership Team Leader [email protected]

Jordan Boyst [email protected] Sherry Hansen [email protected]

Michael Hill [email protected] Sutherland [email protected]

Dianne Therry [email protected]

Please call (800) 422-3778 for all membership inquires.

Executive StaffSharron Bradley CEO NAHFA [email protected] Frye EVP NAHFA [email protected]

Contributors Kaprice Crawford, Anders Ekman, Marty Grosse, Sue Masaracchia-Roberts, Tim McLain, David McMahon, Gerry Morris, Tom Shay, Kathy Hunt Wall

Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, Suite Six, Roseville, CA 95678 800.422.3778 • retailernowmag.com

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Synchrony Financial, formerly GE Capital Retail Finance,

is bringing new meaning to the word partnership. We

offer credit and financing solutions for small and medium

independent retailers as well as top home furnishing

retailers. With over 80 years of retail heritage, we have

the products, services and industry expertise to help

our partners improve customer loyalty and increase

average transaction sizes. Find out what Synchrony

Financial can do for your home furnishing business at

SynchronyBusiness.com/furniture or 1-855-973-3552.

Engage with us.

Credit is extended by Synchrony Bank.© 2015 Synchrony Financial. All rights reserved.

Banking. Loyalty. Analytics.


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President's MessagePresident’s Message

We’re always looking for ways to engage our customers so I wanted to pass on an idea for an in-store event we held in our store recently.

The idea for a movie night came from our manager, Louie Hess. We would turn our recliner department into a theatre and show a movie on a winter night. The biggest expense was buying the rights to show a movie. The company that sold us the rights to Secretariat was very helpful. They provided materials for posters, media releases and tickets. The $350 rights fee seemed like a good value considering all they helped us with. Ashley Furniture heard of the event (through our reps) and offered to help us with the cost.

We thought it would be a great way to raise some money for a charity (in this case Habitat for Humanity) and spend an evening having a great time with 70 or so potential customers, which is never a bad way to spend a few hours. Admission was $10 and included popcorn, drinks and other assorted goodies. I am sure at this point you must be wondering how many spills and messes occurred. We had already decided the goodwill was worth the risk. As it turned out, other than some serious popcorn clean up there were no issues. On movie night we were sold out and it was a really fun crowd.

We sold raffle tickets for $1 and the winner got to take home the recliner they sat in for the movie. We raised some serious money for a local charity, made some new friends and had a fun time. Here’s hoping the next time any of those in attendance for movie night are looking for furniture they will think of Cramer’s.

All of us are looking for ways to engage and connect with our community. If you want to try something similar in your store, I’d love to help out. Just let me know.

Marty Cramer

Lights, Camera, Connect!

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Editor’s Message

There was a time when Hilmar Starcke wouldn’t miss the spectacle that is High Point Market. But times change—at least that’s what Starcke, owner of Starcke Furniture in Seguine, Texas, thought. For years, Starcke stayed home while the rest of the retail world converged on the world’s most famous furniture city.

“Maybe I got too lazy, maybe with the Internet and email I thought I didn’t need to attend,” says Starcke. “I guess I just thought I could talk to my rep. And since I had the catalogs right in front of me I didn’t see any reason to take time away from the store and go.”

After years of staying away, Starcke returned to High Point last spring when a business friend convinced him he was making a mistake. It took Starcke only a few hours at market to realize just how big—and costly—a mistake he had been making.

On his first visit to a manufacturer’s showroom, Starcke bought several La-Z-Boy recliners he would not have given a second look thumbing through a catalog back home. “The textures, the colors, you really had to see them in person,” Starcke recalls.

Within a month of putting the chairs on his showroom floor he sold seven. “That’s $4,200 in business right there,” Starcke says.

“To me that’s a pretty good return on investment for a few days in High Point.”

Make no mistake: High Point is about showrooms packed with furniture. But beyond the sofas and tables, Starcke was reminded just how important High Point is to building relationships and catching up on the latest design trends and business practices.

“This is still a people business,” he says. “It’s nice to get a handshake and meet people face to face.“

I get it. You’re swamped trying to build your business. How can you possibly spend two or three days away from your store? That’s easy: If you’re trying to build your business, how can you afford not to? Don’t take my word for it. Ask Starcke.

I hope to see you at market.

Robert Bell [email protected] | (916) 757-1169

Skipping High Point? Think again.

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Cool AppsPocket (getpocket.com) Save articles and videos to view laterIf you’re like us, you have too much to read

and not enough time to read it. Pocket lets you easily save pages of articles or videos to return to later and organize and access articles offline from any device (videos still require an Internet connection). Pocket is currently integrated in more than 500 apps including Twitter, Flipboard and Feedly, and boasts more than 12 million users.Free; iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry Web (Chrome, Firefox, Safari Add-ons). Go premium for $4.99/month.

Good to Know

Five TED Talks to InspireNeed a spark of inspiration? Retail consultant Raymark suggests these TED Talks to help get you thinking about

your customers and your business in new ways.Three Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Reputation

The days are past when a person, company or brand

could tightly control their reputation—online chatter and spin mean that if you’re relevant, there’s a constant, free-form conversation happening about you that you have no control over. Marketer Tim Leberecht offers three big ideas about accepting that loss of control, even designing for it—and using it as an impetus to recommit to your values.

The Post-Crisis Consumer

In our industry we’re always striving to understand our customers better. Marketing wiz John Gerzema identifies four major cultural shifts driving new consumer behavior and shows how businesses are connecting with thoughtful spending.

How to Buy Happiness

Retailers often try to get people to buy for themselves. Maybe we need to devote more time to brainstorming ways to make it easier to spend

on others. Social science researcher Michael Norton shares fascinating data on how money can actually buy happiness—when you don’t spend it on yourself.

facebook.com/RetailerNOW @RetailerNOW pinterest.com/RetailerNOW

On Sliced Bread

Although filmed three years before Twitter was created, the idea of consumers living in a world with too many choices and too little time is perhaps more true now than ever. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. Instead of looking to engage the masses, as many retailers do, better results may be achieved by focusing on the early adopters, the aficionados, and the consumers who really, genuinely love the brand.

Meet the Future of Branded Currency

Advertising expert Paul Kemp Robertson talks about the global shift towards branded currencies

such as bitcoin and loyalty points. He shares some fascinating examples from around the world of how the lines between brands, marketing and currency have become increasingly blurred.

Watch Now! Use your phone to scan this QR code to view any of these videos.






Tech NOW

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facebook.com/RetailerNOW @RetailerNOW pinterest.com/RetailerNOW

MIDJ – Leif Petersen



220 S. Elm Street, High Point,North Carolina 27260 T 336 884 8220 F 336 884 8253220elm.com



Cresent Furniture


Palliser 18-23 2015




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Inspired Reading:Retailer2Retailer

Are you happy with your sales reps?


To inspire this passion, Hyken explains, employees of Ace Hardware are led through five distinct stages related to the brand promise: uncertainty (what is the brand promise, and can it be fulfilled?); alignment (understanding the brand promise); experience (a positive experi-ence of the brand promise); ownership (after many such positive experiences, believing that the brand promise will be experienced every time); and amazement (consistently above-average brand experi-ences.) Once employees have reached the amazement stage, they are ready to lead the customers themselves through the five stages.

52 Tools for Delivering AmazementLet’s face it, home furnishings isn’t such a stretch from a hardware store. You still need to wow the customer, make them feel like they’re the only one that matters at that moment (which is true).

To help companies emulate the success of Ace Hardware, Hyken offers 52 tools for delivering amazing customer service.

“Know the value of your customer” is one example of a leadership tool. The average lifetime value of a grocery store customer is about $35,000. Knowing this lifetime value, Hyken writes, leaders should have no problem giving employees the inde-pendent authority to spend five dollars to solve any customer problem.

“We do a lot of one-on-one communica-tion with them, but that’s us having to making the effort. The reps today don’t have as much expe-rience as the ones

before them. They don’t always know the product as well. I’m seeing some im-provement, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”

Jayro AguilarDon’t Pay RetailSanta Anna, Calif.

“ We have p re t t y good reps . They come in, train and even work the floor with us when we’re busy. They’ve been in the sales field so they know what

they’re doing. They make my job a lot easier.”

Pamela ForseyAspen Home Parker HousePhoenix, Ariz.

“We’ve been fortunate to have pretty much the same reps for 10 years. They do a god job of listening to us and helping us

with what we need help on. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some really bad (reps), but we’re not doing business with them anymore. Maybe that’s why we’re not doing business with them.”

Steve SchumanPrice BustersBaltimore, Md.

In Amaze Every Customer Every Time, author Shep Hyken tells the story of a cyclist hit by a car. Dazed and

bruised, the front wheel of his bike bent “like a taco,” the cyclist wanders into an Ace Hardware Store a half a block from the accident and asks the cashier if Ace sells bicycle wheels. Ace does not, but an associate—as Ace employees are called—volunteers to look at the bike.

Then, as the cyclist sits nursing his bleed-ing shoulder, the associate, whose name is Mike, bangs the wheel back into shape using the curb and a rubber mallet, ad-justs the tension on the spokes so that the wheel will spin properly, and uses duct tape to fix the front fender. The cyclist rides home and later writes, to the store:

“Mike, not only did you rescue a fallen cyclist and send him on his way…but you also restored his faith in the inherent goodness of human nature.”

For Hyken, the story illustrates the kind of customer service that Ace Hardware exemplifies—customer service that’s based not just on serving or satisfying the customer, but on amazing that customer. The fact that the cyclist was not even a customer only proves his point, which is why Hyken puts Ace Hardware Store at the center of his latest book.

The Five StagesFor Hyken, the keys to the success of Ace Hardware, which has been in business since 1924, are people who love what they do, an underdog position in the marketplace in which it revels, and a pas-sion to serve.

Amaze Every Customer Every Time,written by Shep Hyken

“Know thevalue of


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The Search Is OverMobile POS for Furniture Retail


“STORIS’ omni-channel solution delivers a technological platform for success. Their mobile

application, eRoam, empowers our sales staff to deliver an enhanced customer experience

on the showroom floor.”

Richard Boettcher, CIO

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Cover Story

Suburban Contemporary Furnishings owner Jeff Burt learned cyber security the hard way: His store lost 14 months of financial information plus inventory, invoices and bills.

Photo: Doug Hoke

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The Internet is an integral part of any home furnishings business and often is a critical element. And yet, as almost any retailer will tell you, you’re only a click away from havoc if a link installs malware on the company computer. Anyone connected to the Internet is at risk.

“Cyber attacks are on the rise,” cautioned Michele Borovac, vice president of cloud control company HyTrust. “No company is immune and security must be a top priority rather than an afterthought or

an insurance plan. The costs of these breaches are staggering—damaging brands, customer trust and, ultimately, the bottom line.”

Nobody knows this better—or worse, as the case may be—than Jeff Burt, the owner of Suburban Contemporary Furnishings in Oklahoma City. Burt’s staff is allowed to use the Internet only to look at inventory, their customer base and similar information, but a couple of years ago, the store server started acting weird.

Technology is a blessing for home furnishings retailers, but

left unguarded it has a dark side.

HackedCover Story

By Sue Masaracchia-Roberts

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Cover Story

“When our IT guy came in to [check out the problem], he discovered we’d been hacked,” Burt said.

The hackers didn’t steal sensitive informa-tion—a common problem with today’s high-profile hacks. Instead, they used Suburban Contemporary Furnishings’ server as an email base.

Burt was told it was common for hackers to use a server to email solicitations for drugs such as Viagra and other items. In Burt’s case, the hackers used the server as a ‘ghost’—a place to send email that could not be tracked.

Once the breach was discovered, the server was cleaned up and the passwords changed. That’s when things went from bad to worse. After the passwords were changed, the IT person was supposed to share the new password with the store’s backup system so it could resume backing up data every day like it was supposed to. He forgot.

“We just assumed it was backing up and doing what it needed to do,” Burt said. “Almost a year of information was cor-rupted because the system was not backing up. It was a hideous lesson to learn.”

Burt’s store lost 14 months of financial information plus inventory, invoices and bills—all because the password was not shared with the backup server.

There’s a reason retailers find themselves in the news more than other industries when it comes to cyber attacks.

“Retailers have always been the low-hanging fruit for attackers since they don’t spend as much as banks and government entities in cybersecurity,” Lawrence Pingree, research director covering cybersecurity at Gartner, Inc. told The Wall Street Journal last fall.

According to Pingree, retailers spend about 4 percent of their IT budgets on cybersecu-rity, while financial services spend about 5.5 percent and healthcare spends 5.6 percent.

A recent Verizon study reported that small businesses are the most likely victims of

all businesses attacked by cyber criminals. Close to half of all of the confirmed data breach incidents Verizon recorded last year occurred in companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Small businesses that employed fewer than 250 workers experienced a significant increase of cyber attacks by as much as 18 percent from the previous year.

Attacks are usually more damaging for small retailers compared to the Targets and Home Depots of the world. “Per capita, data breaches can be more costly for small companies, especially those with fewer than 250 people,” said Larry Poneman, PhD, chairman and founder think tank Poneman Institute. “External hackers often see small business as a stepping stone to big businesses.”

Protectinginformation Jeremy King, international director for PCI Security Standards Council, explained that most criminals are likely not in the same country or on the same continent as the businesses they invade.

The cybercriminal is “looking for Internet addresses,” King said. “He doesn’t see a retailer, but an IP address and he will target that IP address to see if it is connected to anything. [Once he] has found a way in, he will look around for vulnerable data and organizations that don’t have a good level of security.”

King added, “You need to think of security as one issue. Understand where cardholder data is in your system and make sure if you don’t need it, don’t keep it. If you do keep it, keep it securely. Shred data you don’t need and make sure it’s gone.”

“Cyber protection is a broad term and can encompass anything from anti-virus, to access controls, to auditing and alerts,” said HyTrust’s Borovac.

“Attackers are smart and they are getting in largely undetected because they are able to look like insiders,” he said. “Once they have control of a privileged user’s credentials, they can move around at will. Don’t forget to both monitor and control what insiders [like employees] can do as well as keep the bad guys out.”

Although passwords are not entirely ef-fective as a security measure, Poneman stresses that each employee needs a unique, strong password that should not include personal information like anniversaries, children’s names or birthdates, or similar information.

Poneman also urged encrypting any stored data with good encryption security. Retailers can download a reputable encryp-tion program from a trusted website or access a virtual private network.

“Hackers use all kinds of software to mirror passwords. That is why upper case, char-acters and combinations are important,” said Carolyn Crowley, the president and founder of Myriad Software. “Seasoned

“Understand where cardholder data is in your

system and make sure if you don’t need it, don’t keep it. If you do keep it, keep it

securely. Shred data you don’t need and make sure it’s gone.”

- Jeremy King,International Director

PCI Security Standards Council

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Cover Story

hackers can still find that information, so you need to change [passwords] often—even if that is once a year—to ensure you are protected.”

However, cautioned Borovac, “Passwords can be broken, given enough time and computer power. This makes the practice of using two-factor authentication even more critical for any account that holds sensitive data. Two-factor authentication combines something you know—like a password—with something you have—like a token.”

A security token, also known as a key fob, is any device that can be used to authenticate authorization—it acts like an electronic key to gain access. The authorized user may have to enter an alphanumeric code, fingerprint, or PIN.

Most businesses are PC-based, but some use Mac computers, believing that Apple technology is more secure. Cyber security expert Gary Miliefsky agrees that Macs are only marginally safer. “It is a harder system to break, but recently has been broken,” he said. “A new malware now exploits Macs and not a lot of anti-virus solutions on this platform can keep up.”

In addition to encrypting everything on all machines, regardless of whether it is a PC or Mac, Miliefsy suggests retailers “assume you are already hacked and clean up your malware.”

Jeff Selik, the owner of Hillside Furniture in Hillsboro, Mich., is a Mac devotee. “Everything is password controlled and only two people have access. By minimiz-ing the number of people who can log in, it keeps it pretty clean,” Selik said.

“A lot of our stuff is done on Mac, which generally is not as attacked,” Selik added. “Once the iPads and iPhones came out, we realized their functionality as a business tool. All our sales consultants use iPads, iPhones and their personal computers, which are usually Macs. Everything com-municates very easily.”

Selik knows the power of technology in the hands of a retailer. “Technology can either put you out of business or make your business,” he said. “I don’t feel I am enough of a blip on the map for anyone to try to hack us. We get a ton of email spam with attachments, but we clearly just don’t open those. Hillside is always on the cutting

edge of contemporary and technology. We budget for technology as a very important investment in our company, use strong passwords, have a strong firewall and are PCI-bonded for transmission of credit cards over the Internet. We keep only cus-tomer email addresses, addresses and phone numbers. We work with Myriad and have an advisor who will come in if something needs to be fixed.”

“Since 2007, we have not had anyone breached,” said Myriad’s Crowley, whose company developed an integrated busi-ness package specifically designed for home furnishings retailers to manage sales, inventory, customer histories and other workplace related tasks.

“Retailers must trust the gateways they use. A stand-alone machine is pretty secure, however hacking doesn’t always come from the Internet or credit card machines. Sometimes it comes from disgruntled employees. Everyone is concerned with hacking,” Crowley said.

“A comprehensive security strategy starts with assuming the bad guys are already inside,” said Borovac. “Automate security

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when you can to remove the possibility of human error. Make sure that security becomes a strategic objective at the highest levels of the company.”

Detecting a breach“Good, outsourced computer support resources are important if no one on staff is IT savvy,” said Crowley, who also urged retailers to make sure firewalls and software including anti-virus software, spyware and malware protection are updated. “Be sure to conduct an annual review of what you have in place for your company’s protection,” she said. “Check to make sure all your servers and equipment are updated.”

Should a breach occur, Crowley advises retailers to shut down whatever system the breach is coming through. “Maybe the set-tings or firewall are not right. Have your IT people look into it without leaving [the system] open; shut the server down until someone can check it out.”

“Nothing is foolproof,” said Miliefsky. “Businesses should ef-fectively train employees, harden systems, detect and remove Remote Access Trojans (RATs), deploy full disk encryption and real-time backups, defend against phishing attacks and manage

the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) dilemma. Have a separate Wi-Fi for BYOD. The free TrueCrypt is amazingly powerful at encryption.”

Any “outbound traffic when no one is touching computers” is one sign of infiltration, he said. “Test the outbound traffic logs after work for anomalies. Be alert to more ‘spear phishing attacks’ and ‘zero day malware’ rats.”

Incident response plansCrowley adds that it is important to have an “incident response plan” in place should a breach occur. “It is no different than if you had a major power outage or catastrophe [like a tornado],” she said. “Always have a plan B.”

What does a good plan look like? It will provide the name and contact information of who will serve as spokesperson for the business, emergency contact information of key staff, including all ways they can be contacted, statements that can be provided to the media until more information can be assessed—like ‘everything possible is being done to protect sensitive informa-tion’—and a plan and vehicle for notifying those impacted–both internally and externally.


Open-To-Buy’s multi-lender system is working great.We have seen a substantial increase in secondary applications. It has simplified the finance process and increased our approvals.

- The Home Furniture Co., Lafayette, LA

434-202-0137 | [email protected] | 2421 Ivy Road, Suite 330, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Cover Story

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Cover Story

“The more prepared you are,” said Poneman “the less likely you are to be in a ‘disaster’ situation. Companies [exist] that can provide plans that tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it and who to contact, and have tools to help you. It is important to consider the impact of the breached data lost rather than at company size; there are a lot of required measures that must be taken as follow up that would be very costly.”

Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Springfield, Ill., does not have a written disaster plan of its own, said Barbara Seidman, but does “contract with a local technology company that takes care of any and all computer issues, including breaches. This is an ever-evolving challenge.”

Burt cautions fellow retailers, “Don’t assume anything. Always look at your system and check it. You have got to keep your eyes on it all the time. It’s a fact of life.”

Sue Masaracchia-Roberts is a freelance writer, editor, and public relations consultant based in Chicago. She has more than 25 years of experience in public relations and writing. Her specialties are the fields of manufacturing and small business.

1. Log Out. It’s not enough to click to an-other website. Log out to ensure your account is closed.

2. Update passwords. Replaced pass-words quarterly, and make them complex (upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols).

3. Lock it down. If you offer your custom-ers free Wi-Fi (and you should), do it on a separate network from your store network.

4. Resist clicking. If you get an email or pop-up message asking for personal information, don’t reply or click on the link in the message.

5. Stop downloading. It’s an easy way for hackers to infiltrate from unknown sites. Make a company policy.

5 No-BrainersTo Avoid Getting Hacked




COME SEE US IN HIGH POINT • APRIL 18-23 • Showplace — Space 2300

Contact us to become a Bolton Dealer! [email protected] 802-888-7974


Bolton.indd 1 3/2/15 3:50 PM

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ROTY Nominees

Our 2015Retailer of the Year

Nominees(What’s luck got to do with it?)

When we asked some of our nominees what entrepreneurial talents it took to make it as a finalist for the North American Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer of the Year, we got the usual suspects—risk-taker, relationship-builder, creative-thinker. Here’s one that caught us by surprise: Almost every retailer we spoke with attributed some of their success to—are you ready for this?—luck. That’s right, a lot of our retailers said they were at the right place at the right time with the right product.

Sorry, we’re not buying it. It takes a special somebody to know when place, time and prod-uct should intersect. The men and women who make up our list of nominees for NAHFA’s 2015 Retailer of the Year possess many traits—humble-ness, determination, passion and independence for starters—but luck ain’t one of them. After reading their stories, we think you’ll agree.

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$10 million or above in sales volumeThe Tubman & Burns Families

Circle Furniture, Acton, Mass.

Family-owned Circle Furniture has been a Massachusetts institu-tion for more than 60 years. The company began in Cambridge, where Harvard students shopped for quality used and unfinished furniture. Today Circle Furniture has evolved into a thriving, seven-location business with a reputation for a quality contemporary selection, fast delivery times on made-to-order items, and most of all, fun.

Currently run by two generations of the Tubman and Burns family, Circle Furniture is committed to its community through philanthropy and sustainable business practices, and by providing its customers with American-made products—espe-cially those made in New England. In 2014, Circle opened a store in Middleton, its largest showroom to date. Circle also installed solar pan-els to power its warehouse opera-tions and Framingham showroom.

Keith KoenigCity Furniture, Tamarac, Fla.

It all started in 1971, when Kevin Koenig used $1,500 he earned while working on vaca-tion in New England to open his first store, Waterbed City. Koenig was joined by his younger brother Keith, and Keith’s friend Mike Lennon. The three men soon added Garry Ikola and Steve Wilder to the company and together made Waterbed City the biggest seller of waterbeds in South Florida.

The business transitioned into the company we know today under Keith’s leadership in 1994 when the f i r s t ful l - l ine City Furniture store opened. Profits were well above company expecta-tions and Keith quickly set about converting all of the Waterbed City stores into City Furniture stores and hasn’t looked back since.

Lee Goodman & the Navarra

FamilyJerome’s Furniture, San Diego, Calif.

You won’t find the s-word in any of Jerome’s Furniture stores or ads. The company, which serves the Southern California market with 11 full-range furniture stores in the San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles markets stopped offering the s-word (sales) and promotions in 2007 and hasn’t looked back.

Instead, Lee Goodman said that Jerome’s, which has been in business for more than 60 years, offers its customers the best price everyday. Combine this unique business strategy with same-day delivery, a wide range of both furniture and accessories, a dynamic and interac-tive website, strong community involvement, and a team of true home professionals and you have a furniture retailer that continues to grow and gain in marketshare.

Rick Haux Jr.Mor Furniture for Less, San Diego, Calif.

Mor Furniture for Less is the largest family-owned and operated furniture company on the West Coast with 29 stores in seven states. Owner Rick Haux Jr., attributes his company’s growth to a simple formula: Provide the consumer a great selection of furniture and accessories while at the same time guaranteeing them the lowest prices.

Haux takes that formula one step further by showering his customers with world-class customer service and same-day delivery. By positioning Mor Furniture for Less as the low-price cost leader in furniture and home design, Haux has captured market-share across multiple platforms. That success can be seen in Mor’s growth from a small, single showroom to a company with more than $300 million in annual sales.

Joshua HudsonHudson’s Furniture, Sanford, Fla.

Ask a customer what sets Hudson’s Furniture apart from its competitors and the answer is simple: Impeccable customer service. “We believe we are doing more for our clients than providing sofas and tables,” says Joshua Hudson. “We believe when we create a space for the client in the home that reflects their own desires for a place where they can recharge and make memories we are improving their lives. We believe when we can make this happen for clients, they will love us.”

Hudson’s started in 1981 in Ormond Beach Fla., and has expanded over the years to Orlando and Tampa. The company’s 17 stores have grown from an annual volume of $37.6 million in sales in 2010 to $84.9 million last year.

ROTY Nominees

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Todd Lehman Interiors Furniture & Design, Lancaster, Pa.

A modern furniture store in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, Pa., seems misplaced, but Todd Lehman makes it work. Interiors Furniture & Design has grown top line sales by 40 percent in the past six years. The growth has allowed the company to complete significant renovations to its Lancaster store and fund the opening of two more stores.

Todd has always possessed a love of furniture. “From my earliest memories as a child I have always been intrigued by the furniture business,” he said. “To this day, our industry continues to present unique opportunities for me to utilize my interpersonal, leadership and analytical skills, along with my interest in design and creativity. Crazy combination, right?” Perhaps, but it’s a combination that’s proving successful.

Chuck, George & Fred Nader Nader’s La Popular, Gardena, Calif.

Residents of South Bay, Calif., have relied on Nader’s La Popular for quality home furnishings since 1956 with good reason: Few stores offer the quality, selection and service that La Popular deliv-ers on a daily basis. The store, a fixture on the corner of East Carson Street and Grace Avenue, has been passed down from one generation to the next, but one thing has remained constant: the Nader family has built trust and relationships while supplying homeowners with furniture for both starter and dream homes alike.

The Nader family has used volume buying power, low overhead and exceptional customer service to retain and attract new clients. It’s a philosophy that’s worked for 59 years and the Naders see no need to change.

Marc Schewel Schewels,

Lynchburg, Va.

Marc Schewel is chief executive officer of Schewels, a retail fur-niture chain with 52 stores scat-tered throughout Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. Each of the stores is unique unto itself, varying in size from 15,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet and in annual sales from $1 million to $8 million.

The company carries furniture, bedding, appliances and electron-ics, and provides additional value to its customers by self-financing 80 percent of their purchases. The company is headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., from which it distributes merchandise to its other stores. Marc, along with his brother and sister, are the fourth-generation owners and operators of this family business, which celebrates its 118th anniversary later this year.

Shane Spiller Spiller Furniture,

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Spiller Furniture has served western Alabama and eastern Mississippi since 1948. Shane Spiller has been running the com-pany since 2004 and continues to lead the 13-store chain, which em-ploys 115 people. Under Shane’s leadership, the company’s last five years have been the best in net income over the past 15 years. His goal is to double the company’s sales by 2025.

But with Shane, it’s not always the bottom line. The company gives back to the residents it serves. Earlier this year Shane received the Distinguished Service Award from the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, his second such award in three years. The company is also partners with a local elementary school where Spiller employees read with students and encourage them to do their best.

Andrew Tepperman

Tepperman’s, Windsor, Ontario

Eve r s in c e f ounde r Na t e Tepperman immigrated to Canada from Russia in 1925, Tepperman’s purpose has been to provide its customers with great selection, values and service. It’s a philoso-phy that never seems to become outdated. Ninety years after the company’s founder walked door-to-door drumming up busi-ness from neighbors in his city, Tepperman’s has grown to four lo-cations throughout Southwestern Ontario. These days, Andrew Tepperman, Nate’s great-grandson, runs the show as the company’s president.

But Andrew will be the first to tell you he runs more than just a furniture store. Tepperman’s is just as much a part the community’s social fabric, having donated more than $575,000 in collegiate schol-arships to young men and women throughout the area.

$10 million or above in sales volume - continued

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Chris CooleyMichael Alan

Distinct Home Furnishings, Lake

Havasu, Ariz.

Abner and Shirley Schultz started Michael Alan in the early 1980s. Unlike other small busi-nesses that take time to grow, it didn’t take long for the store to become a local furniture and design destination. Daughters Chris Cooley and Carrie Hemme, who were working for their par-ents in the business, purchased the store in 1992 and have helped it grow even more.

Chris believes Michael Alan’s strongest asset is its employees.

“The Michael Alan family—a team of 24 members filled with vibrant passion for design—cre-ates an amazing culture that is infectious with our customers,” said Chris. The company remains committed to offering the best quality products and service in the home furnishings industry with a fun and edgy twist.

Brian GarrisonGarrison’s Home

Furnishings/Mattress Gallery,

Central Point, Ore.

With a degree in hospitality man-agement and a resumé that includes Disney and Hyatt, Brian Garrison had an idea in mind when first decided to open Garrison's Home Furnishings in 2007. “I wanted to create a customer service company that specialized in furniture, not a furniture company that specialized in customer service,” he said.

Eight years later, it is obvious that Garrison is on to something. Garrison’s Home Furnishings has more than quadrupled revenues since opening. The store’s success, according to Brian, is because of the commitment to service. “People in our community know when they come to Garrison’s their salesperson will help them make the best deci-sion, the delivery team will respect their home and our service depart-ment will take care of any problems,” he said.

Heather HanleyThe Tin Roof,

Spokane, Wash.

Heather Hanley was ready. She had been accepted into the presti-gious New York School of Design. She was ready to move to the East Coast and open a new chapter in her life when her father persuaded her to try the family business for a while. Looking back, Hanley is convinced not going back to col-lege is the best move she ever made.

Today, The Tin Roof offers an eclectic mix of furniture and ac-cessories to its growing, equally eclectic customer base. Last year, the company enjoyed two record-breaking months in sales and Heather, the store’s creative direc-tor, expects even bigger numbers this year. If Heather laments not pursuing earning her masters, she doesn’t show it. “I love everything about my job,” she said. “I love the merchandising, the marketing the buying, the people, everything.”

Sue & Don NorrisProvencal Home, Austin, Texas

Sue and Don Norris did not know much about buying and selling furniture when they opened Provencal Home in 1994. The couple had recently lost their 18-year-old daughter to Type 1 diabetes, and the new business created a much-needed creative outlet, especially for Sue.

Provencal Home started as an accessories store before Don and Sue slowly transitioned to home furnishings. “It has been a good business for us and we pride ourselves in offering our customers unique items for their homes,” Don said. In 2007, Inc. Magazine took note of Provencal Home’s strong growth over three years and included the store in its 2007 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest - grow-ing companies in America.

Adam Peterson Seat N Sleep, Portage, Mich.

These days, five bucks barely gets you a coffee at Starbucks, and yet, that’s what Adam Peterson had in his pocket when he started Seat N Sleep in 2007. Adam had worked for two furniture stores after moving to Michigan, both were managed poorly and he left abruptly. “They weren’t good experiences, but they showed me just how much I loved selling furniture,” he said.

Today, Adam has customers who drive 125 miles to do business with him. Adam offers his customers a guarantee—if they don't like their mattress they can return it and he donates it to local foster families.

“This community has given me so much in such a short time,” he said. “Why shouldn’t I give back?”

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Jeff SelikHillside Furniture, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Jeff Selik is a second-generation leader of Hillside Furniture, the home furnishings store his father, Bruce, started in1974. Hillside opened as a full-line store before Bruce made the bold decision to specialize in contemporary furniture.

That, they say, has made all the difference. Hillside has been honored as the best furniture store in Detroit the last three years. Jeff continues with his father’s vision of providing quality contemporary furniture. He’s also continuing another longstanding Selik tradition of giving back to the commu-nity. Last year Hillside donated $25,000 to help a local city firehouse acquire the basic essentials it needed to stay up and running and continue providing a close watch over the community it serves.

Michael ShuelMeredith Furniture, Yakima, Wash.

The residents of Yakima know who to turn to when it’s time to buy furniture. Meredith Furniture, a 10,000-square-foot retail business, has been serving the city and central Washington for 69 years.

Michael Shuel joined the family business as the store’s manager in 1977. Michael eventually bought into the business, which was owned by his parents, John and Darlene, Michael’s wife, Jan, joined to company in 2000 after raising the couple’s children.

Despite the changes to the home furnishings industry, Meredith Furniture continues to grow year after year. “This industry is always changing,” Michael said. “It’s a constant effort to keep up with those changes, but you know what? It’s worth it. We love what we’re doing.”

Tom Slater,Ed Slater &

Dennis McKimSlater’s Home

Furnishings, Modesto, Calif.

Established in 1912, Slater’s has evolved into a partnership of third-generation owners. These days, Tom Slater, Ed Slater and Dennis McKim are running the show with stores in Merced and Modesto, Calif. The two locations specialize in higher quality home furnishings with an interior- design concentration.

Both stores are laid out with display vignettes to show off the furnishings. Slater’s staff of experi-enced interior designers specializes in relationship selling. The Slaters and McKim believe strongly that the company’s goal is to solve its clients’ interior design projects by creating a home that is comfortable and reflects their personal style. Slater’s believes it is vital to provide over-the-top customer service. Indeed, Slater's Home Furnishings strives for a 100-percent return on its cus-tomer base.

Elam SwannSwann’s Furniture

& Design,Tyler, Texas

To say that Swann’s Furniture & Design has been around a while is putting it mildly. The store opened its doors 120 years ago. Since then, Swann’s has sold everything from carpet to appliances to televisions. Oh, and furniture.

Elam Swann i s the four th-generation owner of the store who tries to think outside the box. “I’ve never thought of us as a profit-driven store, but a customer-driven store,” he says. “If you take care of the customers, the profits will come.” Swann’s completed a 51,000 square-foot showroom in 2012 in Tyler’s highest growth corridor. Elam and his son Franklin continue Swann’s tradition of community involvement by being part of sev-eral youth mentoring programs and supporting many local and international charities.

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ROTY Nominees

NAHFA’sRetailers of the Year

will be announcedduring the

High Point Market

They'll be honored at our Home Furnishings

Networking ConferenceMay 17-19 in Orlando.

Want to attend?Visit thehfnc.com

or call (800) 422-3778 x 105

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ROTY Nominees

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Here’s How We Decide NAHFA’s Retailer of the Year Winners

For starters, a lot of hard work. All of our 2015 Retailer of the Year nominees are NAHFA members in good standing who were nominated by fellow members of the home furnishings industry based on their exemplary service to the industry and to their communities, and who provide an ex-ceptional customer experience in their stores. The nominees were considered in two cat-egories—businesses with sales volume under $10 million and those with sales volume $10 million or above.

A selection committee, comprised of two mem-bers of NAHFA’s Board of Directors; two fellow NAHFA retailers; two manufacturers; two service providers/suppliers; and two members from the media who cover the home furnish-ings industry, will carefully review each of our 19 finalists’ credentials. The winners will be announced later this month during the High Point Furniture Market. The winners will be honored at the Retailer of the Year Gala on May 17 at NAHFA’s annual Home Furnishings Networking Conference in Orlando.

What does it take to win the North American Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer of the Year award?

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We throw the word brand around as if we know what it means, but really, what is a brand? True, a brand is a logo, but it is much more than a visual identity. Distinctive brands like Coca Cola or Target are easily

recognized by their marks. The shape of a bottle and the red bull’s eye are unmistakable. These icons represent the brand, but they are not the brand.

Close your eyes and say Coca Cola. Think about it. What comes to mind? A refreshing beverage, a thirst quencher, a sugary soda, a diet buster. Do you see visions of the bottle or can, an ice-filled glass, a grocer’s shelf?

The qualities attributed to the name are also components of the brand. So, it’s not just a logo or a product. Your home furnishings brand is a myriad of imagery, messaging, and impressions associ-ated with your business. What words do people think of when they see or hear your company name? What are their feelings and emotions when they think about your business?

Having a strong brand on moderate budget is doable if you are strategic, targeted and consistent. I’ll talk more about how you can evaluate your brand at the NAHFA’s Retail Resource Center at High Point Market, but until then here are three questions to get you thinking:

How often should you review your brand? A thorough review of your brand should take place every five years. A well thought out re-branding can take a year or two. That means your store puts on a fresh face about every seven or eight years. Sometimes this means a new coat of paint and at other times it might require a gut job. Accept that your brand needs to evolve. The expense associ-ated with rebranding should be factored into your cost of doing business just like a new roof or a replacement delivery truck.

Why rebrand? The obvious answer is to ensure your business is relevant in an ever-changing marketplace. Loyal customers age and no longer need to buy what you are selling. New, younger

customers do. However, your brand may feel out-dated to them. What appealed to their parents or grandparents won’t motivate them to darken your doorway. Millennials and Gen Ys or Gen Xs shop very differently than their predecessors. Just as their personal brand is different, so too are their homes. Another reason to develop an updated brand is a new competitor that could lead to erosion of sales. Don’t procrastinate on this one. It’s easier to stay out in front than it is to regain lost ground. A major shift in your product mix or services that repositions your store is always exciting and brings unique opportunities for reaching new customers. This might include the addition of a children’s depart-ment or a gift gallery.

Where do you start? Gather all the assets. This means everyone’s business cards, letterhead, signage, every advertisement you have run the previous five years, and printouts of your social media sites and website. Take pictures of your store’s interior, exterior and com-pany vehicles. Spread everything out in one room. Simultaneously, create a committee of employees from different levels and have them create a list of challenges and opportunities. If outside com-petition is among those challenges, gather as many of their assets as you can. Then, call in the professionals. An agency with branding experience is ideal. You need objectivity because a brand isn’t about what you like, or what your family likes. It is what ultimately helps influence consumers to choose you instead of the other guys.


Kathy Hunt Wall has lent her talents in marketing, brand strategy and advertising services to the home furnishings industry for more than 30 years. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Next Gen NOW (NGN) is a community of young, passionate, engaged industry professionals whose mission is to give a voice to the needs and goals of the up-and-coming future generations. NGN strives to educate the industry on how and why it should attract and keep young talent. The NAHFA supports NGN by facilitating meetings and educational opportunities and introducing the industry to its members through RetailerNow. Connect with NGN members at NextGenerationNow.net or on Twitter @ngnow.

It took me a while before I realized what I wanted to do. I played baseball at Purdue and so I thought I’d see if I liked coaching, but I didn’t want to be on the road so much so I X’d that out. I took a job with GE Finance where I was one of 350,000 employees. It was a good job, but with so many people it was hard to see yourself making a difference so I decided to go to work with my dad.

My dad and I—that’s my favorite part of the business. He’s like a mentor to me. We butt heads like a father and son should and that’s been a blast for me.

I want to buy more younger, contemporary stuff and he wants more traditional. We’ve both picked a couple of winners and losers. Dad fell in love with a girls bedroom set at market. I remember getting it in the warehouse and the general manager and I are looking at it. Our GM is young like me and we’re thinking this thing is ugly. There’s no way it’s going to sell. Of course it’s been our No. 1 or No. 2 seller. Dad likes to remind me about that one.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh is all about customer service. I like how anytime someone comes into Zappos, no matter who they are or what they do, they stick them answer-ing the phones for a few weeks so they know how to deal with customers and what they want, what they’re buying. That’s something I want to try to do more of this year. I need to be out on the floor more with the customers.

It’s all about technology with my age group. We shop on-line for almost everything. We know how Apple has spoiled consumers. Everybody wants everything quicker. They want their product quicker, they want the transaction to be quicker. They want to get in and out of the store quicker. If we don’t provide that for them, they’re going to find someone who does. My generation can push that technology and speed forward for the industry.

Next Generation has been great for me. Life changing, really. If I have a problem, I know I can just call somebody and they usually help me out. What ideas work and, just as important to me, what ideas have not worked. Kelly Gunville (Conlin’s Furniture) told me about youth mattresses from Glideaway and we sell a ton of them. You can’t get that kind of support and networking anywhere else.

Alex Jaffee, 27Boss in TrainingHousehold Furniture Co.,El Paso, Texas

...with Alex Jaffee

Next Gen NOW Spotlight


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Sales & Marketing

Aligning operating expenses to your sales volume will enhance your bottom line.

In my last article, I explained how two retailers of equal size and equal operating costs could produce dramatically differ-ent results due to differing gross margin percent of sales. This month I will tell you a story about two retailers who have the

same sales volume, similar inventory levels, and equal gross margins. One retailer was consistently behind on accounts payable while the other had zero long-term debt and was always current with vendors.

There was one big factor that caused radically different results for these two businesses: The alignment of operating expenses to the sales volume produced.

To illustrate this, let’s suppose both retailers produce a gross margin of 47 percent. Now, let’s suppose that Store A had total operating expenses of 46 percent and Store B had 37 percent.

Store A had a 1 percent net income and little profit remaining to add to cash flow. An upward swing in inventory decreased cash in the bank, which led to late payments to vendors, who then delayed shipping, which led to less product to sell. This misalignment of operating costs produced a downward spiral effect in their business.

Store B didn’t have this problem because their expenses were prop-erly aligned. Store B produced a consistent, double-digit bottom line of 10 percent. Some of you may think this impossible. I am telling you right now—this is doable for most operations given the education, time and commitment to change. Several of my


clients and performance group members have achieved this level of success. Most businesses we work with are either working towards double-digit profits or are achieving them.

So why is Store B more successful? Because Store B takes the time to break down its expenses for each department in its business—it considers its performance metrics and how they affect business. If the industry as a whole had current performance standards, more retailers could more easily follow this practice.

There is a solution. This year the North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA), with the support of PROFITsystems, is resurrecting the Retail Performance Report, the former industry-performance standard for more than 40 years. By participating in the survey you can help form the new industry benchmarks. Participants’ benchmarks will be compared graphically, side-by-side with industry average and high performing operations. More than 50 performance metrics will be examined.

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Sales & Marketing

TV MagazineNewspaper

Low Range% of Sales

High Range% of Sales


3%— 15%

2%— 14%

5%— 13%

-2%— 3%


-1%— 5%

1.5%— 7%

Administrative Expenses

Occupancy Expenses

Advertising Expenses

Selling Expenses

Customer Service Expenses

Warehouse Expenses

Delivery Expenses (Net of income)

Finance Expenses


Administrative expenses contain all of-fice and general expenses that it takes to operate a retail store. Other than the direct department salaries, expenses like travel, insurance, entertainment, health care, legal, accounting, consulting, busi-ness dues, telephone, admin vehicles are all contained here. These are usually fairly fixed expenses. So, as sales volume increases, these expenses as a percent of sales decrease. Economies of scale are achieved after the break-even sales point is surpassed.

Your occupancy expense is usually the most inflexible cost. It contains store rent, utilities and maintenance. Because facility costs are so inflexible the dollar amount of monthly rent directly determines the dollar amount of margin the business must achieve to be profitable. For example, a high-rent store must achieve exceptional margins because there is a limited number of expense cuts that can be made in other areas to function properly and profitably. For new stores, the rental agreement is the second most important decision they will make next to the location.

Advertising expenses contain all media—traditional and digital. This category also contains any agency fees and co-op received. Operations with low marketing costs are usually those that have built a reputation in their community and have a very loyal cus-tomer base or a triple-A location. Budgeting ad costs can be either variable or fixed. It is variable if the budget is strictly on a percent-age of sales and fixed if it is on a set-spending amount. Variable means if sales go up or down, so does ad spend.

Customer service is the department that handles after-sales cus-tomer or product issues. In many operations, this department employs a service person (or people) and technicians (either in-ternal or contract). All direct expenses are categorized here as well as any vendor credit income received for reconciliation of issues.

Warehouse expenses are at the heart of the retail back end. All distri-bution center personnel doing receiving, picking, product prep and merchandise handling, as well as their machine and facility costs are located in this department. Fragmented, out-of-the-way operations are usually those with higher costs. Also, having the right facility for the volume and future potential are important efficiency elements.

Delivery expenses are a big value-added benefit of what retailers offer their customers. Those that charge appropriately for their services and have efficient management of crews and routing can completely offset this department expense.

Finance expenses for most retailers are credit card fees and the usage of outside finance companies. Fewer retailers these days seem to be holding their own paper (internal accounts receivable). Companies on the higher end of this expense scale are usually those that rely on programs such as five-year financing promotions to generate their in-store traffic.

Whatever the mix of your operating expenses, what matters most is that when totaled up, your departmental expenses leave enough room to allow you to make a decent enough profit to accomplish three important results:

Keep cash at the proper level for business stability.

Reinvest cash into the business for continuous improve- ment and growth.

Generate healthy shareholder return of capital.

I look forward to seeing the mix of these operating expenses and more metrics that average and high performing operations produce once we complete the 2015 NAHFA Retail Performance Report. Your participation will allow you to measure directly against the latest industry standards. These key performance in-dicators will improve operational focus, set the stage for improved business results and maximize profitability. To participate in this survey, please visit nahfa.org/rpr.

David McMahon is a management consultant and certified management accountant. He is director of consulting and performance groups for PROFITsystems, a HighJump product. You can reach him to discuss improving your situation at [email protected].

The graph on the right is a breakdown by department of the ranges I have seen in the various operating departments in furniture retail through the years:

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I FIND IT INTERESTING HOW YOU CAN GATHER a group of retailers and ask how many believe they give great cus-tomer service. Almost always the result is a unanimous yes. Follow up this question by asking if they have an ongoing educational program for their employees and the answer is unanimous again—no. That begs a third question: How do you give great customer service if you are not teaching it?

Last month I talked about what good customer service looks like and its importance to your store. This month we’ll talk about teaching it. Because the best investment you can make in your business this year is to create and maintain an ongoing staff edu-cation program. Creating one can be rewarding when you follow this seven-step process.

Begin by writing yourself a letter stating why you are doing this and what you expect to get from it. Make no apology for expecting your business to operate flawlessly and wanting your customers to have a wonderful ex-perience; an experience in which they begin to become

strong and vocal advocates of your store to their friends, neighbors and coworkers.

Speak with those individuals within your business who will support your endeavor. Explain what you plan to do

and ask for their support and encouragement of their co-workers. When you schedule your first class, do so with the intention of being consistent with the day and time of the class. Since customer service extends beyond the sales floor, every employee should participate. I found that a weekday evening, after hours, worked best. The class should be no longer than an hour.

Create a schedule that will outline the next six months of classes and what you want to accomplish in each class. Post this so that all of your employees can see it. This is done so they understand you have put a lot of time and effort into the classes; they are not

just thrown together at the last-minute with you talking about whatever comes to mind.

Create a written guideline for each class. It does not need to be any longer than one page. Adding your logo and other branding emblems on the document helps to make it look official. During the hour, the majority of the time should be spent on a topic that is either

sales or product oriented. The remaining time should be spent in, or reviewing, the guidelines you have created for your busi-ness. This would include job descriptions (the what to do), job specifications (the how to do), policies (rules for ourselves) and procedures (how to do things for customers). Notice there is no

It’s easy to preach it, but can you teach it? BY TOM SHAY

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Tom Shay has more than 25 years of experience running a small retail business. Subscribe to Tom ’s e-retailer, a free monthly newsletter packed with tips for improving the profitability of your store, at profitsplus.org.

mention of a customer-service policy. This is because, if you’ll notice, most retailers’ customer service policies are really thinly veiled rules for the customers. If your employees know their job descriptions, job specifications, policies and procedures, they’ll be giving great customer service.

With each class, there should be a written test given to each employee. The test is an assessment of their ability to retain what has been taught. The test in our business consisted of 10 questions with nine relating to the bulk of the class and the last question relevant

to the remainder of the class. Staff had 48 hours to complete the test and hand it in to the teacher for grading. Those who answered nine or 10 questions correctly received a small gift card to another independent and locally owned business as a reward.

Speaking of the teacher, this is not a responsibility that should remain with the owner or manager of the store. Instead, after completing a couple of months of classes, the assignment of teacher should be passed around to include everyone. This is done for several

reasons. One is that it helps everyone see the importance of and effort necessary for creating a class. It also requires each employee to develop multiple areas within the business in which they are an expert. When your staff learns and appreciates other roles beyond the one they have, your store becomes stronger. With the schedule mentioned in step 3, have employees sign up for the classes they are going to teach. Require them to share with you, a couple of months in advance, what they have researched and prepared for class.

As the class continues through the year, you will find the opportunity and need to develop new topics for the business as well as the desire to take certain topics to a higher level of competency or include new information about the products or services you are offering.

Some people believe that seven is a lucky number. Without discussing the superstition of this belief, we can assure that following these seven steps can make a big difference in your business for 2015.

Research shows multiple reasons for this—from studies con-ducted by the American Management Association to those from the Harvard School of Business, many things from productivity to profitability and employee retention, all show sizable improve-ment because a business made a commitment to an ongoing staff education program. It has worked for others, and it can work for you.

It’s easy to preach it, but can you teach it?

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Furniture—it’s literally the reason we’re all here. Whether we make it, sell it, source it, design it, or offer services to the people who do all of that or write about the people who do all of that, we’re all in it together.

No matter which report you read or pundit you listen to, everyone agrees, the furniture industry has rounded the corner and is emerging from the eco-nomic woods. Consumer confidence is up and that ubiquitous phrase—cautious optimism—has changed to just optimism.

RetailerNOW talked to a retailer and two manufacturers about furniture, the industry and their businesses.

NAHFA member Alderman Maynard is vice president and chief sales officer for Maynard’s Home Furnishings, which was founded in 1947 in Belton, S.C. Maynard’s carries medium to medium-high price points and Maynard says they’re a destination shop. “People travel about 30 miles to see us,” he says. “We’ve always said we have to give them something extra so they’ll continue to travel that far for furniture.”


Suddenly furniture’s got it. Keeping it requires a team effort.

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“We don’t want to be just another number for a vendor,

but rather someone who is valued as a business partner.”

—Alderman Maynard, Maynard’s Home Furnishings

Maynard says his store achieves that goal through exceptional customer service, great looking showrooms and talented employees. Maynard says most employ-ees have been with the company for about 13 years and that plays a key role in the level of service the retailer offers.

When it comes to dealing with vendors or manufacturers, Maynard learned quickly that this is a relationship industry. “A good vendor partner for me is someone who is open to my ideas of promotions and who is willing to work with me on

growing both of our businesses. A good vendor rep is priority number one. Also, no matter how large the vendor is, I’d like to be able to pick up the phone and talk to the president with no problems. We don’t want to be just another number for a vendor, but rather someone who is valued as a business partner.”

Maynard believes wholeheartedly that a good sales rep is critical and says one of the biggest problems is the bad reps. Since his goal is to give his customers the best customer service possible, he expects the same from his sales reps, and those who aren’t able to follow through lose his business.

Being a third-generation retailer, Maynard has seen improvements in the industry during his time. “Some of the decreased lead times we’re seeing are almost unbelievable,” he says. “And I’m not just referring to warehoused im-ported goods out of High Point. We’re seeing incredible lead times on some domestically made custom-ordered upholstery. These are the lines that my sales consultants are leaning toward…with good reason!”

Maynard says he doesn’t have a product hot list for 2015—he’s just looking for lines that can help him increase margin. “We’re not a ‘trendy type store’,” he says. “We’ll normally wait a market or two on things that we deem “trendy” to see if they have staying power.”

Maynard shops High Point during pre-market and the Atlanta market.

As Maynard observes, this is a relationship in-dustry. Learning more about the other players is important and learning to see things from their side of the table is insightful. So it’s no surprise that manufacturers are also positive about 2015.

Bryan Edwards, national sales manager for Aspenhome says with inventories going down and prices stabilizing there are more consistent fluctuations in the economy rath-er than the huge ups and downs the industry has endured the last five to seven years.

He’s also optimistic about the consumer. “Millennials have different style preferences and priorities compared to my generation (boomers),” he says. “They have a myriad of places to shop—brick-and-mortar, online, and (increasingly) hybrids. Furniture Furniture has never been more en vogue (in italics) and it has a cool factor I haven’t seen in my 30 years. It is a great time to be in the furniture business but change is here.”

Aspenhome has grown from a small, family-owned home entertainment company to a full-line furniture company that offers bedroom, dining, home office, home entertainment and occasional. The Phoenix-based company has received seven Pinnacle awards for design.

Edwards says Aspenhome furniture designers get their inspiration from “literally everywhere.” From the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Maison & Objet to home furnishings websites and retail stores.

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The innovative product is almost self-explanatory, but aside from the tech-friendly designs, the company offers solid wood bedrooms at price points retailers appreciate.

Having great people and product doesn’t mean anything if you can’t deliver; Aspenhome invests in logistics that let it support customers with door-to-door service with its mixed container warehouse program and its U.S. distribution center.

Tim Ussery, executive vice president of sales and Roy Yates, chief merchandising officer for Standard Furniture are also optimistic about 2015.

“We are pleased with our growth over the last three years,” Ussery said. “We’re looking forward both optimistically and conserva-tively aggressive in 2015. We take our business evaluation one market at a time, and one quarter at a time.”

Standard is a family-owned, Alabama-based manufacturer and distributor of casegoods. As one of the largest U.S. manufactur-ers, its product categories include bedroom, dining, occasional, entertainment and youth. It introduces 25 to 40 new product groups at High Point and Las Vegas markets.

Yates shares Edwards’ belief that mid-century modern is an on-trend look for 2015, but Yates elaborates saying casual is the big buzzword, “whether it is traditional, modern or rustic, the interpretation is rendered in a relaxed, easy to live with version” and “transitional styling will be a continued big focus.” Painted pieces (pastels, dusty vintage shades) are still popular as are “rustic

Aspenhome, above, blends functionality and technology into its furniture designs with built-in lighting controls and AC outlets for convenience.

Early on the company realized the importance of paying attention to technology—and attending the Consumer Electronics Show. “We started in home entertainment 35 years ago,” Edwards says. “It is in our DNA.”

Despite Aspenhome’s commitment to staying ahead of the technol-ogy trends, Edwards says “staying on the forefront of innovative function in furniture without it becoming obsolete in three years” keeps him awake at night.

The company doesn’t have much to fear though—Aspenhome has successfully blended technology and functionality into its furniture designs. For example, many beds have built-in lamp assist (which lets you control bedside lighting with the push of a button on the bed), AC outlets and two large cedar-lined storage drawers underneath.

“Most likely, 10 years ago your bed did not offer this,” Edwards said.

Aspenhome is focusing on woods—like walnut, mindi (white cedar), mango and oak—that show the character of the tree with a more open grain. The company rolls out anywhere from six to eight new collections each year. Mid-century modern is on trend this year.

When it comes to working with its retailer partners, Edwards says customers keep coming back because of “people, product and process.”

People fit in this mix by way of the exceptional customer service at Aspenhome and the in-house marketing support for retailers, which includes everything from high-res videos and images to catalogs, tear sheets and point-of-purchase materials on every product.

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finishes with weathered driftwood and barn board greys and browns. Lighter and mid-tone wood stains will grow in popularity includ-ing caramel and tawny colors on distressed pine and oak.” Yates says these are welcome changes from the merlot/espresso finishes of the last 10 years.

Standard’s furniture designers get their inspiration from “archi-tectural elements, great antique pieces, furniture history books, artwork, and the shapes, colors and textures found in nature,” Yates said. “They watch for trends in the antique market, fashion and textile design, graphic arts, and even the automobile industry. They spot what is happening in home accents and accessories, lighting trends and the home construction industry. They are aware of how high-end interior and furniture designers are trending. In short, their eyes are always open for any type of visual inspiration that can be used creatively as elements in their furniture designs.”

Standard has also stepped up to the challenge of providing furniture solutions for tech-focused consumers. Night stands and end tables have built-in charging stations with USB ports and electrical plugs.

“Technology and our dependence upon it has escalated rapidly in the last 10 years,” Yates said. “The addition of function features to furniture that make it easier to use our tech devices has added convenience that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

Fashion and product function are important in the furniture busi-ness, but so is the business itself. One issue that keeps Ussery awake at night was the West Coast port dispute and the “rising freight costs on all types of transportation, (overseas and stateside). Plus, the increasing daily costs of corporations doing business in the U.S.”

Ussery says Standard strives to offer its retail partners “the best customer service in the industry and that doesn’t just mean superior care before and after the sale, it includes offering great product designs, carefully monitored quality controls and very sharp pricing. It also includes creative financing, cost saving shipping options, advertising support, and in-store training of their sales force by our sales representative team.”

To that end, for the last three years the company has focused on making more information available to its customers by way of more detailed product information, FAQs, as-sembly instructions and marketing materials like product romance copy and photography.

“For 2015, we will focus on updating our website and improving its access, mak-ing it easier to navigate,” Ussery said. “We do everything we can to help grow our retail partners’ businesses because they are our greatest assets, and when they succeed, we succeed.”

Standard Furniture, center and right, brings a fresh look to transitional styling. Chief merchandising officer Roy Yates says their designers get inspiration from architecture, antiques, art, nature, and more.

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Sales & Marketing


WHENEVER I ATTEND MARKETS or conferences each educational session has the potential to spark a fire of improved sales results. The key for savvy retailers is to gather the hottest ideas from industry thought leaders that have the best chance of burning brightest. Just in time for spring, here are my takeaways from recent events that are white hot!

Close today’s hot leads firstStaple yourself to the next 10 customers who enter your store or fill out a form on your website to understand how well your sales process is performing. Speed is key. Why? According to the Harvard Business Review, you’re seven times more likely to qualify a lead if you reach out within an hour. That number plummets if you wait 24 hours.

Takeaway: Close more deals from your existing lead generation sources. Train your sales team, bulletproof your phone eti-quette, track your website conversion data, and lock down a consistent 30-minute-or-less lead response time no matter how they’re sourced.

Create mobile-friendly websitesMany retail websites aren’t mobile-friendly, forcing shoppers to switch to a PC. If your website gets half or more of its traffic from computers, chances are it’s because your mobile experience is lacking. A NetBiscuits survey found that nine out of 10 mobile web users switched to a competitor’s site that made it easier to find what they were seeking.

Takeaway: Engage prospects and spark more conversions with a responsive website. Since most shoppers own smartphones and tablets, their first contact with you will be your website, which sets the stage for a frus-trating—or flawless—purchasing process. It’s all up to you.

Focus adsIf you’re like the majority of home furnishings retailers, you’re trying to advertise too much (brands, products, services) with too little budget. Retailers who focus on five advertis-ing categories or fewer increase their conver-sions over clients with broader campaigns.

Takeaway: Remove all non-essential, under-performing ad groups. A leaner campaign will stretch your budget further and deliver better results for the three to five categories that matter most. Monitor and verify that your campaign delivers a 70-percent or high-er share of advertising voice for your most important brands, products and services.

Zoom in on your audienceWhen it comes to bagging new customers, you’ll do far better messaging to a smaller population versus a large one. Resist the temptation to blast your message to a mass audience if your goal is to attract a specific kind of customer within close proximity.

Takeaway: Instead of a 50-100 mile radius, reduce your target geography for your core campaign to 20 miles or less. Remove underperforming locations and experiment with new geos, each with their own 10-20 mile radius.

Video is kingA new Google Shopping survey finds that 62 percent of consumers are influenced by videos on YouTube and more than half of respondents start their research there. Home goods shoppers make a purchase with the same mindset they consume media. Ask yourself: Would you rather read about a leather recliner or watch a short video that walks you through its top features?

Takeaway: Most consumers start their research by watching videos. Make fresh content to match their wants and needs.

One goal per webpageGoogle is no longer a search engine, it’s an answer engine. Think about the questions local buyers are asking at each step in their purchase path. Google wants to send them to sites that have the answers; review each page on your site and make sure it has one purpose and one call to action.

Takeaway: When you add content to your website, it must be original and answer a shopper’s question. Write a list of searcher intents, two to five keywords for each, then create pages to target each intent. Plan ongoing content efforts with more competitive and temporally demanding (time-sensitive) keywords.

Content, content, contentYour goal should be to dominate your local search engine results pages (SERPs) from top to bottom with relevant content. If your website visitor count has flatlined in recent months, it’s time to invest in fresh content. Rand Fishkin, an inbound marketing expert from moz.com offers six criteria for modern content investments that will move your store’s needle: one-of-a-kind, relevant and on-topic, resolves a shopper’s query in a useful manner, uniquely valuable, easy to consume on any device, well-written and likely to be shared online.

Takeaway: Update your digital ads with fresh, relevant calls to action so they appear in the top three sponsored slots. Publish content that answers local shopper’s fre-quently asked questions and appears in the top organic (free) results further down the page.

Tim McLain is an Internet marketing expert who works with home furnishings brands and local retailers. Contact Tim at [email protected].

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SEMINAR:Ignite Your Sales & Profitability

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When it comes to fashion, the home furnishings industry has never followed the leader. This month’s High Point market is proof of that as manufacturers big and small continue blazing their own path. Pull up a seat and take a peek.

Groovystuff, SAMS-G1025 LOVE on Wall Art is constructed of reclaimed metal materials that captivate the eye by adding depth to wall art usually only seen in 2D. Since each piece is hand crafted the construction materials may vary from piece to piece. MSRP: $329.99

Calligaris USA, Inc., IHFC H524The LAZY Chair’s welcoming curves and broad seat provide the perfect spot to lounge on a ‘lazy’ afternoon. It’s available in your choice of fabric or leather.MSRP: $540 to $3,336CR Laine, 310 N. Hamilton S-204

The Makoto ottoman evokes Asian Chippendale motif through its modern, boxy frame. Shown here in true Belgian linen and a light pewter finish. MSRP: $1,595 Adesso, IHFC G262

Influenced by vintage and mid-century traditions, Adesso’s Quinn floor lamp combines the texture of natural linen and the sleek warmth of a walnut finish on the crisscross base for an urban statement. MSRP: $185

Gat Creek, IHFC D1020The Mitre Sideboard offers storage with style. The three adjustable shelves are reversible. The sideboard is built in the U.S. from sustainably harvested American black cherry or sugar maple. MSRP: $2,599

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The details are not the details. They make the design. | Charles Eames

COUEF, IHFC InterHall 204The Owen Ottoman is the perfect conversation piece, instantly transitioning from footrest to coffee table. Detailed with baseball stitching across the top, with a slight curve to the leg. Additional storage underneath.MSRP: $2,195

Jaipur, Showplace 3300Photos and artwork pulled from the National Geographic archives provide the inspiration for the Feathers line of rugs. Peacock, shown, is hand-tufted of wool and viscose. MSRP: $820 for a 5’x 8’

Donco, 138 South Main St.The twin over full bunk bed from the Denim collection is manufactured in solid pine with a hand-rubbed finish with distressed hardwood trims. MSRP: $599

Amisco, IHFC D541Amisco’s upholstered beds come with seven metal cross rails for durability that can accommodate either a coil of foam mattress—no box spring required. MSRP: $999 for the queen

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Therapedic International, IHFC M607The 10 SKU Tommy Bahama Home mattress collection includes a variety of conventional innerspring, hybrid and specialty-foam models. They’re made with U.S.-sourced materials such as the company’s non-toxic, eco-friendly Floating Foam core (emulates a floating sensation) and a wrapped coil unit with an offset floating center. MSRP: $899-$2,999

Ambella Home Collection, 310 N. Hamilton S-110Inspired by retro pieces of the 1960s and 70s, this sectional consists of a left arm loveseat, right arm loveseat and curved corner. The bench seat cushion of this sectional can come buttoned or plain. MSRP unavailable

nuLOOM, C&D, 4GnuLoom’s Taunya Rug is machine made of plush and soft polypropylene and bursting with on-trend greys and blues. MSRP: $199 for a 5’x9”

KAS, IHFC G270 The new Riviera Collection from Kas includes stylish indoor/outdoor poufs (with matching rugs) made from a flat-weave construction in polyester. MSRP: $149

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A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous. | Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Surya, Showplace 4100Surya’s Seabrook rug is hand-woven in India from 100 percent wool with hand-stitched details. MSRP $299 for a 5’ x 7’6”

New Pacific Design, Showplace 3450The solid ash wood frames to New Pacific Design’s Soren Accent Chair imbue a sleek and innovative design with relaxation in mind. MSRP not available

Skyline Design, IHFC InterHall 210Skyline’s Strips collection reinforces the belief that outdoor furniture is more than one dimensional in design. Strips is made up of a white matte aluminum frame with intersecting silver walnut Viro fiber strips. MSRP: $8,020

Taylor Burke, SAMS, G-7034 SalonThe Hollings barrel chair is streamlined to fit in almost any space. It even has an optional swivel feature. Taylor Burke uses a recyclable soy-based foam core cushion that is wrapped in cotton. MSRP: $2,650, $2,995 with the swivel feature

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Standard Furniture, IHFC C700Camellia Bedroom for girls is all cozy cottage, from its softly rounded corners and chunky bun feet to its petite cannonball ball bed posts. Choose one or mix its colors—mint, marshmallow, or bubblegum on hardwood veneers and solids. MSRP: $999 for dresser, mirror, nightstand and twin-poster bed.

Kingsdown, 126 W. Holt St., MebaneDiamond Royale is a three-model collection of handcrafted mattresses that use both rare and natural fibers such as pure high loft cotton, cashmere, merino and other rare wools. MSRP: $5,000 - $15,000 in queen sets depending on model

Bolton Furniture, Showplace 2300Bolton Home, the company’s rebranded line of casegoods, debuts with five collections. The coat hook and bench are from the Carriage House collection and are shown in the sand finish. MSRP: $169 each

Twin-Star Home Furnishings, Market on Green 304 The Enterprise Collection, available in white or black, is a customizable entertainment unit with myriad options. The media mantel has fireplace or storage space; side pier options include a wine cooler, beverage cooler, or storage. MSRP: $1,899 fully loaded

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Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended. | Raymond Loewy

Omnia Leather, IHFC D1102The DreamSations Sleeper Program has all the comforts of premium stationary seating with the added function of a memory foam sleeper. Available in more than 400 leathers/fabrics. MSRP: $4,200

The Rug MarketSAMS M-1000AGrantfield is a wool and silk tufted rug featuring geometrics in gold and silver hues. The design delivers a luxurious accent to perfectly complement metallic home décor trends. MSRP: $77 for a 5’ x 7’

Varaschin 220 Elm 301The Babylon outdoor sofa, armchair and marble-top coffee table from Varaschin have all the luxury of indoor furniture. The frame is made of powder-coated aluminum and the rope material is a synthetic fiber to withstand the elements. MSRP: sofa, $5,271; armchair $2,856; coffee table, $2,898

BDI, IHFC D523The Sequel wall-mounted desk is a space-saving design that can be mounted at any height to create a convenient workstation. Available in natural stained cherry, espresso stained oak, natural walnut and chocolate stained walnut. MSRP: $1,350

Matrix Imports, IHFC D745The Stelar Coffee Table mixes shapes and metals to create an industrial look that’s highly stylized yet incredibly functional, with convenient cubbies and lift-up top. MSRP: $653

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ADVERTISING/MARKETING/WEBSITES Advertising Concepts of America . . . . . . . . . . . .39DesignCliq, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Fisher Printing, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13FurnitureDealer .net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37Knorr Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Mail America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20, 21Moso Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Spectrum Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing . . . . . . .14RM Innovations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

BUSINESS CONSULTING FurnitureCore/Impact Consulting Services 18, 19, 29JRM Sales & Management, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Profitability Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

FINANCIAL SERVICES LendPro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Synchrony Financial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Trekstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

PRODUCTS & SERVICES flexReceipts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7The Furniture Training Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6North American Home Furnishings Assoc . . .16, 31Service Lamp Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

SOFTWAREFurniture Wizard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44MicroD, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1, 2Myriad Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41, 42PROFITsystems, a Highjump Product . . . . . . .22, 23STORIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24, 25VividWorks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

WAREHOUSE & DELIVERYClear Destination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Diakon Logistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36Dispatch Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 SAW Enterprises, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5United Steel Storage, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

INSURANCE & WARRENTIES Risk Assurance Partners, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

OPERATIONS Best Buy for Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34, 35










































41 39









Along with the many business service providers showing in the Retailer Resource Center, NAHFA is proud to feature Endorsed Program Partners. When researching your next partner, look for the Endorsed Program icon for exclusive NAHFA member discounts and/or services.

Plaza Suites | 1st Floor | 222 S . Main Street

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Plaza Suites | 1st Floor | 222 S. Main Street

High Point Market RRC


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.10 Steps to Improve Your Business NowPhilip Gutsell, Gutsell & Associates

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.Developing a High Performance Sales TeamJoe Milevsky, JRM Sales Management

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Tech Tips: Sell More with Less Square FootageDan Wieczorek, Best Buy for Business

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.The Secret Sales & Marketing Tool You Should be Using Jeff Giagnocavo, Infotail

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.The Social Shopper: How Retailers Can Connect with CustomersMarisa Peacock, The Strategic Peacock

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.Leveraging the Modern Data Ecosystem to Deliver In-Market Furniture ConsumersAnders Ekman, DataMentors, LLC


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.State of the Furniture IndustryJerry Epperson, Mann, Armistead & Epperson, LTD.

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.How NAHFA Datalink Works for Retailers and Manufacturers David Lively, NAHFA Board Member & The Lively Merchant, Bill Napier, Napier Marketing Group, Patrick Bain, RM Innovation

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Driving Retail Sales at Non-Holiday TimesCharlie Horich, Brad Lebow, Chip Hector, David Weinstein, Horich Hector Lebow Advertising

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.Ignite Your Sales & Profitability!Doug Knorr, Knorr Marketing

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.The Thrill of the HuntMartin Roberts, Martin Roberts Design

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.Is it Time to Fire Your Top Salesperson?Lee Rychel, PROFITSystems


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.Make the Most of Your Online Presence!Ron Gordon, MicroD Inc

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.Retail Performance Metrics – Your Best Practices to Sustained SuccessDavid McMahon, PROFITSystems

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Passionate Selling – Put the Spark Back into Your Store SalesMarty Grosse, Furniche.com

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.Selling to Today’s Furniture CustomerRené Johnston-Gingrich, Profitability Consulting Group

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.The Offline Effect: Three Ways Google Store Visits Will Make Local Digital Marketing SmarterBob Bradley, Netsertive

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.Why you Need a Shopping CartSev Ritchie, Tailbase


8:30 – 9:30 a.m.The Positives of a High Impact SaleJoseph Connolly, Lynch Sales Company

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.Today’s Current Real Estate TrendsJulius Feinblum, Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Secrets of Furniture and Mattress Advertising That SellsDavid Love, Love Furniture Profits

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.Is Your Store Ready for the Modern Consumer?Evan Faller, Furniture Wizard Software

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.Showing Green: 10 Questions Every Salesperson Needs to AnswerSusan Inglis, Sustainable Furnishings Council

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.Time Management for DesignersGreg Wyers, LHI Designer

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8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

10 Steps to Improve Your Business Now Philip Gutsell, GutSELL & Associates

Join Philip Gutsell for this seminar and learn 10 new things you can do to improve your business. You’ll learn how to identify and fix your weaknesses so you can develop a clear plan to recharge your business. These strategic steps will help you monitor your operations better and bring higher profits to your bottom line.

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Developing a High Performance Sales Team Joe Milevsky, JRM Sales Management

Finding and hiring the right people is a challenge, especially in our industry. What makes one salesperson succeed while others fail? What’s the magic profile for a top salesperson? Where can you find the best candidates and how do you recruit them? How do you help them succeed? How many salespeople is enough? How do you pay them? These are just a few of the questions Joe Milevsky will answer.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Tech Tips: Sell More with Less Square Footage Dan Wieczorek, Best Buy for Business

Square footage is expensive, so why not use the latest technology to your advantage and save money instead? We’ll demonstrate how you can showcase your entire online catalog, boost sales and enhance the customer experience using interactive touch panels. This cost-effective solution can also be used for digital signage and advertising that can be updated as often as you choose. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to see, touch and interact with this exciting touch-screen technology.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

The Secret Sales & Marketing Tool You Should be Using Jeff Giagnocavo, Infotail

If you’re selling face-to-face (like most of us are) this session will show you an often overlooked, yet highly effective, tool you need in your sales and marketing arsenal to crush your competition, dominate your local market, and attract a flood of customers. You’ll take away a step-by-step plan to design, create, and implement this secret marketing tool.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

The Social Shopper: How Retailers Can Connect with Customers Marisa Peacock, The Strategic Peacock

Considering that four in 10 social media users have purchased an item online after sharing it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest there is a lot to gain by leveraging the loyalty and sustained satisfaction social media can bring. Successful social media campaigns start with understanding the behaviors associated with your audience; we’ll examine millennials, moms and baby boomers’ shopping behaviors. Learn best practices designed to get the most out of social media as you launch campaigns to connect with customers online and in-store.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Leveraging the Modern Data Ecosystem to Deliver In-Market Furniture Consumers Anders Ekman, DataMentors, LLC

Furniture consumers are increasingly difficult to target in today’s dynamic economy. Consumers are shopping across multiple digital channels and millennials are now of an age where they hold more purchasing power than any other demographic. Hear first-hand experience in working with top brands in furniture retail that have successfully used data and analytics to better target today’s consumers.

This session will also focus on how furniture retailers can boost customer acquisition and retention. Fuel marketing by combining a company’s first-party CRM (customer relationship management) data with real-time triggers and Hard-to-Find-Data (HTFD) sources, such as millennial and social consumers who have indicated purchase intent, to deliver better targeting and a stream of in-market consumers. The benefits? More effective and ultimately lower media spend per conversion, a more efficient funnel and better marketing ROI.


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

State of the Furniture Industry Jerry Epperson, Mann, Armistead & Epperson, LTD.

One of the furniture industry’s most knowledgeable analysts sits down with retailers to discuss the economy and socio-demographic factors that are sure to impact the home funishings sector over the coming two years.

High Point Market RRC

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10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

How NAHFA Datalink Works for Retailers and Manufacturers David Lively, NAHFA Board Member & The Lively Merchant, Bill Napier, Napier Marketing Group, Patrick Bain, RM Innovation

The home furnishings industry has struggled for years with the standardized data issue and now the North American Home Furnishings Association has come up with a membership program that solves the problem.

This seminar will explain NAHFA Datalink—what it is, why retailers and manufacturers will want to participate, and how it works. This initiative will finally give retailers standardized product data to use on their websites, ecatalogs, point-of-sale systems and in-store digital signage. Manufacturers will have a secure, standardized, free way to stream current product information directly to retailers. A live demonstration of the DataLink dashboard will be included in this seminar to demonstrate how manufacturers and retailers can control and utilize their data.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Driving Retail Sales at Non-Holiday Times Charlie Horich, Brad Lebow, Chip Hector, David Weinstein, Horich Hector Lebow Advertising

Every furniture retailer knows how important the major holidays are to their overall sales, but to be successful, retailers must drive business week in and week out. In this seminar The HHL Team will show you sale events with proven track records and tips on how to use television, direct mail, and digital media to drive traffic and sales at non-holiday times.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Ignite Your Sales & Profitability! Doug Knorr, Knorr Marketing

Today’s consumer landscape is more diverse than ever. The competitive landscape online and offline has escalated to unmanageable heights; and today’s highly fragmented media landscape yields less return on every dollar you invest. In this leading-edge seminar, Doug will present five proven strategies that will allow you to immediately move your company forward to greater sales and profitability.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

The Thrill of the Hunt Martin Roberts, Martin Roberts Design

It is your challenge as smart retailers to draw that savvy customer into your store with an experience that is fun, exciting and encourages the thrill of the hunt. Tap into your customers’ desire to touch, see and interact with products personally. Show them how a well-planned store can offer more than a laptop screen ever could. Martin Roberts, veteran retail store designer and branding specialist, illustrates how you can capture the customer and the sale. From research into buying patterns and merchandising to ROI-targeted signage, lighting, colors and room designs, you will walk away with actionable tactics you can implement right away.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Is it Time to Fire Your Top Salesperson? Lee Rychel, PROFITSystems

We’ve seen it happen: The person who brings in the highest sales volume gets proclaimed King of Sales! But are they really your top sales person or are you wasting undue accolades? As an owner or sales manager you want to have the right team in place and that starts with measuring the right things. You need to identify the sales metrics that make sense to your bottom line and give every sales person the opportunity to achieve success. This seminar will show you how to measure the success of your sales team based on best-practice KPIs; review results with your top sales people and keep them on track; enforce the habits that support your plan with the right commission structure; and coach your sales reps to achieve the highest gross margins possible.


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Make the Most of Your Online Presence! Ron Gordon, MicroD Inc

Current surveys show that 89% of consumers begin their shopping online, even when they anticipate buying from a local brick-and-mortar retailer. As a result, your website has never been more important. In this informative seminar we will present several practical ideas you can use to market your products and services more effectively, more attractively, and in a way that will better engage your customers. These easy-to-apply ideas will improve your website’s usability, its effectiveness, and increase Search Engine Optimization. Several examples will be provided that demonstrate what works and what doesn’t, along with tools to measure the performance and effectiveness of your website.

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Retail Performance Metrics – Your Best Practices to Sustained Success David McMahon, PROFITSystems

In this presentation David will show you what the best operations in the industry track to maximize their performance to beat their competition. These metrics form the basis for strategic direction and help develop specific operational tactics that produce results. Leave this seminar knowing what to look for in your business to improve sales, profits and cash flow. Attend this seminar and receive an invitation to participate in a special industry study that will allow you to benchmark your business against your peers.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Passionate Selling – Put the Spark Back into Your Store Sales Marty Grosse, Furniche.com

Learn how to create and reignite the passion within your sales team and learn how to recognize when it’s waning. Hear real-world examples you can implement immediately and gain unique tools to rekindle the burning desire to sell to every customer.

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1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Selling to Today’s Furniture Customer René Johnston-Gingrich, Profitability Consulting Group

This seminar will focus on understanding today’s design-oriented customer and exceeding their expectations. We will examine the major influences on their shopping and buying behavior as well as strategies to help retailers maximize opportunities with this customer and the market they represent.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

The Offline Effect: Three Ways Google Store Visits Will Make Local Digital Marketing Smarter Bob Bradley, Netsertive

Local retailers are constantly struggling with digital marketing programs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. It’s no secret that online marketing impacts in-store shoppers in a major way – but local stores have trouble seeing the connection between their digital efforts and in-store sales. As it turns out, 90% of Internet searches result in offline brick-and-mortar purchases, according to Proprietary Research/comScore. This presentation will help home furnishings retailers discover what Google store visits mean to their business; how to use insights from closed-loop digital marketing campaigns to continuously improve long-term efforts; and how Google store visits and closed-loop measurement solutions like it will revitalize the local retail experience for customers. The relationship between digital marketing and offline store visits is a virtuous circle; by tracking store visits the digital marketer becomes smarter, allowing them to create more effective digital campaigns, which lead to even more offline shoppers.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Why you Need a Shopping Cart Sev Ritchie, Tailbase

This session will explain why it’s imperative that retailers not only have a good website, but also a shopping cart. We’ll also address why you need a shopping cart, the trends in ecommerce relative to brick-and-mortar, handling logistics, drop ship and easy-to-ship goods and the option of in-store pick up. You’ll leave this seminar knowing whether ecommerce is right for you.


8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

The Positives of a High-Impact Sale Joseph Connolly, Lynch Sales Company

There are many benefits to a high-impact sale: increased traffic and market share, branding your company in the community, a surge of custom orders and new clientele, and increased cash flow to defray any costs of improvement and expansion. Any retailer looking to invigorate their business and staff will benefit and put the fun and excitement back into the business...you know...the way it used to be.

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Today’s Current Real Estate Trends Julius Feinblum, Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate

Julius Feinblum will discuss the effects of the Internet and online shopping in the home furnishings industry and how they influence how you find the proper new site for you store. Julius will focus on the current national commercial real estate market and discuss what’s effecting market rents and property availability and which geographic areas have the most excitement and future growth.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Secrets of Furniture and Mattress Advertising That Sells David Love, Love Furniture Profits

Whether you do your own advertising or use a third party, this seminar will answer questions and give you proven strategies for getting consumers to respond to your ads. David will outline the weaknesses of current advertising in the industry, how to cut through the clutter and how to advertise to produce maximum results.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Is Your Store Ready for the Modern Consumer? Evan Faller, Furniture Wizard Software

What does the modern shopping experience look like? Do you know what experience you are offering when customers walk into your store? See modern technology put into place where and when consumers want it, making your retail establishment the place to invest in home furnishings.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Showing Green: 10 Questions Every Salesperson Needs to Answer Susan Inglis, Sustainable Furnishings Council

The most eco-friendly showroom means nothing if you can’t sell what’s in it. This seminar is a cheat sheet for managers, designers, and sales staff in the form of compelling answers to the most FAQs. What’s the difference between green and sustainable? Who’s going to be most interested? How important is green vs. style or price? What does it say about the rest of my products? Developed by a long-time retailer and high-growth importer, this comes from the real-world perspective of working a showroom floor to make sure there will be no deer in the headlights.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Time Management for Designers Greg Wyers, LHI Designer

Time is the new commodity! Your clients are used to getting what they want much faster than they did 10 years ago. Remember when Fed-X was considered fast? If you can provide great design and great service in less time than you used to, you’ll not only delight your clients you’ll have more time to find new clients…or just enjoy some time off.

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Phone: (800) 422-3778 or (916) 784-7677 Fax: (916) 784-7697Website: www.nahfa.org Email: [email protected]: 500 Giuseppe Ct, Ste 6, Roseville, CA 95678

Let Us Help You With “Touchy” Situations

CALL TODAY TO PLACE YOUR ORDER!Exclusive pricing for association members! Non-members add 25%.


Look no further than your association to help youSell More, Make More and Keep More

We want you to have the right tools for the job.With our extensive product o� ering we’re sure you’ll � nd just what you’re looking for

to help your business and boost your level of customer service.

NAHFA’s Products ProgramHelps You with “Touchy” Situations

Professional Wood Touch-Up KitItem# M881-3100

1 Kit + Bag (237 Pieces)$999.99 (member price)

The NICK KIT™ Repair KitItem# M880-00171 Kit (32 Pieces)

$99.99 (member price)

We want you to havethe right tools for the job.

With our extensive product o� ering we’re sure you’ll � nd just what you’re looking for to help your

business and boost your level of customer service.

Buff-N-Polish KitItem# M905-07001 Kit (9 Pieces)

$55.99 (member price)

Professional Aerosol KitItem# M881-2140

$120.56 (member price)� is kit contains a total of 24 cans of a

professionally assembled color and � nish assortment.

Standard Wood Touch-Up KitItem# M881-33001 Kit (106 Pieces)

$357.50 (member price)

Leather Rescue KitItem# M850-9002

$523.54 (member price)� e Rescue Kit covers a multitude of

leather types. Packaged in an easy-to-use tool box ideal for any repair technician.

RNOW Product Page_Touch-Up Kits_NEW.indd 1 6/12/2014 9:47:06 AM


Visit NextGenerationNow.net for event details @ #HPMKT



NetworkingState of the Industry with Jerry Epperson

EducationLunch with Leaders

MentoringNGN BASH

I’ve made more relevant changes to our company from the sound advice gained by spending time with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen-eration owners than any college course or somewhat bright idea I’ve come up with. Even just to have an ear of someone who is in the same struggle and is willing to give me honest feedback is absolutely priceless. Also, getting the chance to meet with owners who literally gross 100-200 times the annual revenues I work hard to achieve is incredible and their encouragement is immeasurable. I can say that our stores would not be growing the way that they are now without the friendships and mentoring I have gained from the NGN. Jordan Barrick, Quality Furniture & Appliances, Mesquite, TX

As an independent 2nd generation business owner I came into the business basing my management and business decisions on my mom’s experiences and guidance. There is nothing wrong with coming into the busi-ness under those circumstances, but NGN has helped me mold and develop MY business strategy in Colfax. I know the relationships I have built through NGN have helped me with ideas, networking, and great friendships. I would highly recommend any next genera-tion members in the furniture industry to get involved and experience the wonderful oppor-tunities available.Mandy Je� ries, Colfax Furniture & Mattress, Greensboro, NC


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Visit NextGenerationNow.net for event details @ #HPMKT



NetworkingState of the Industry with Jerry Epperson

EducationLunch with Leaders

MentoringNGN BASH

I’ve made more relevant changes to our company from the sound advice gained by spending time with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen-eration owners than any college course or somewhat bright idea I’ve come up with. Even just to have an ear of someone who is in the same struggle and is willing to give me honest feedback is absolutely priceless. Also, getting the chance to meet with owners who literally gross 100-200 times the annual revenues I work hard to achieve is incredible and their encouragement is immeasurable. I can say that our stores would not be growing the way that they are now without the friendships and mentoring I have gained from the NGN. Jordan Barrick, Quality Furniture & Appliances, Mesquite, TX

As an independent 2nd generation business owner I came into the business basing my management and business decisions on my mom’s experiences and guidance. There is nothing wrong with coming into the busi-ness under those circumstances, but NGN has helped me mold and develop MY business strategy in Colfax. I know the relationships I have built through NGN have helped me with ideas, networking, and great friendships. I would highly recommend any next genera-tion members in the furniture industry to get involved and experience the wonderful oppor-tunities available.Mandy Je� ries, Colfax Furniture & Mattress, Greensboro, NC


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Visit the Membership TeamLearning about your businesses and talking with you at markets, regional events, conference and on the phone brings the NAHFA membership team great satisfaction. Our purpose is to provide you with information or a much-needed resource, explain the value of saving on a business service, or simply connect you with other retailers so you can share experiences and stories. The more we learn about you and your business, the better we’re able to meet your needs and help you get the most from your membership.

Think of us as an extension of your staff. Not only can we help you at market, you can count on us the rest of the year too. When you turn to us, we know you’re looking for quick, affordable solutions. We want to deliver. Nothing is more satisfying than finding the answers you need. If we can share a little friendship, community and fun along the way, all the better.

With life speeding by at an ever-quickening pace, finding a stable, safe organization and neutral zone that offers a wellspring of ser-vices and resources is comforting. We are glad you are here, we are grateful for your membership, and we are committed to you. Come by and see us at the Retailer Resource Center, 1st Floor Plaza Suites.

Not a Member Yet?The RRC is a resource for all retailers, regardless of membership, but we welcome the opportunity to discuss the benefits of NAHFA and how we can provide you an immediate return on your investment. Ask how you can receive $1,500 back on your membership!

Let NAHFA’s RetAiLeR ResouRce ceNteR be youR Home AwAy FRom Home during your NC visit. The RRC is host to myriad business services and educational seminars to help keep you profitable and it’s a convenient location for networking, a great place to take a break and grab a bite and the place to learn more about NAHFA and becoming a member. The NAHFA staff and membership team are eager to see you at the High Point Market and assist you in any way they can.

Sell More, Make More, Keep MoreOur number one concern is helping you sell more, make more, and keep more… money that is! By visiting the Retailer Resource Center you can meet with business services vendors who are here to help you succeed.

From in-store financing and bankcard processing to advertising and software solutions the RRC has it all! Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask your membership team for a list of resources and services. See page 45 for a complete list of RRC vendors.

Learn New Tricks of the TradeIt is important to keep your eyes open to opportunities and differ-ent ways to be successful. With 16 educational seminars sponsored by NAHFA and presented by experts in our industry, we can help move your business forward. See page 46 for a complete list of daily seminars.

Visit the North American Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer Resource Center in High Point for seminars and business service providers. Stop by NAHFA’s booth and reconnect with members of our membership team—(L to R) Jana Sutherland, Jordan Boyst, Kaprice Crawford and Dianne Therry. The RRC is located on the first floor of Plaza Suites.

Make the Most of High Point Market at NAHFA's Retail Resource Center By Kaprice Crawford

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� e North American Home Furnishings Association is committed to helping you Sell More, Make More and Keep More

MORE Programs – MORE Benefi ts – MORE Savings

Call (800) 422-3778for more information on this

money saving member program!or visit nahfa.org

Extensive product selection at discounted members-only pricing

Shop securely from anywhere at your convenience

Dedicated Account Managers offer knowledgeable advice and personal support

Expert service, including Geek Squad® installation, offi ce support and protection plans

Volume purchasing and multi-location shipping

Flexible fi nancing and custom leasing plans to fi t your budget

We make it easywith the rightadvice, products,services & support.

Through Best Buy For Business™ NAHFA offers members a private shopping site with discounts on thousands of products from leading manufacturers, plus quarterly featured

solutions designed to help you take your business to the next level.


Best Buy for Business can also show you how the latest technology can help you attract more customers, increase sales and boost productivity on the sales fl oor and in the back offi ce with custom home furnishings retail solution packages.

“� e Best Buy For Business partnership has beenthe critical link in helping us grow our business.”

- Barb Tronstein, Owner Gardner-White Furniture, Detroit, MI

Visit Best Buy For Business at:NAHFA’s Retailer Resource Center

(1st Floor Plaza Suites)during High Point Market

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Adding a second (or third) store might mean it’s time to hire someone to watch over them. Let’s get started. BY MARTY GROSSE

AT THE LAS VEGAS MARKET, I overheard a retailer comment that he was a little guy with one small store, but his bedding rep treated him like a big guy. His market companion replied, “Well little guys can turn into big guys.”

Multiple stores are signs of growth and op-portunity. Even today’s behemoth retailers started in small venues and grew. Whether you have two, 10 or 200 stores, the dynam-ics of managing multiple stores change with every growth phase. Aside from financial, operational, marketing, real estate and warehousing aspects, the development of multi-store management personnel is key to your continuing success.

Growing to multiple locations creates chal-lenges. When do you add another layer of multiple store supervision? How do you find the right people to handle multi-store management? How do you manage a large team of regional or multi-store supervisors? How do you modify personnel systems or procedures? More importantly, there is the challenge of continuing, extending and maintaining the culture and practices that have created success.

When is it time to add a multi-store manag-er to your organization? Let’s face it, people cost money and the tendency is to continue to ask more of the current team. If you have a group of stores without a multi-store man-ager or a team of multi-store managers you

are likely monitoring sales and operational metrics. When performance deteriorates, that may be an indication that you’re ask-ing too much of your team and it’s time to add a multi-store manager. This applies to smaller companies in a growth mode or a large established company. How many stores can one person effectively oversee? Geography and travel requirements must be considered.

The skill sets required for multi-store management include organization, com-munication and self-managing disciplines. As stores are added, a natural instinct is to promote the best store manager or cur-rent multi-store manager to the next level. Multi-store managers must understand the challenges of the in-dividual stores while maintaining a global view and alignment with upper manage-ment’s strategic goals and expectations. The exposure of plac-ing the wrong person in charge of many stores is treacherous. Mistakes can have a negative impact on p roduc t i v i t y and morale. The value of promoting from within your store is significant. Growth represents individual opportunities and mo-tivates employees to strive for the next level.

It seems logical that expanding your store count would be planned and carefully im-plemented. However, growth opportunities are not always logical or planned. I started with a furniture company that went from fewer than 10 stores to more than 25 stores with one acquisition. Talk about growing pains. Today we hear of companies with large store counts getting ready to acquire huge numbers of stores almost overnight.

It is always an option to look outside of the furniture industry and find talent that has multi-store management experience in other products. Some say that retail experi-ence in different product categories is trans-ferable. I have seen this process work but I have also seen it fail miserably. The furni-ture business has nuances and processes that

a r e u n i q u e . Learning the f u r n i t u r e business from w i t h i n h a s d i s t i n c t ad -vantages. The

“furniture guy” w i l l k n o w instinctively h ow t h i n g s should work. Passion for a

product category should not be underesti-mated. Are you looking for your multi-store manager to simply manage stores or really drive performance and results through a


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passion for the business? Hiring experi-enced multi-managers from other furniture companies is an option. The peril here is ac-quiring a previously entrenched perception of how the furniture business should run. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “this is how we used to do it at my previous company.” Bringing in previous experience of any kind requires assimilation and alignment to the company culture and goals.

Personnel systems and procedures must change when you grow. As stores are added, hiring decisions may be made by different people and farther away from someone experienced in hiring with the best interest of the company. Envision the first store that anyone ever opened. The people that were hired were determined by the original owner or a trusted manager. Growth makes it more difficult to continue hiring the best people to work within the unique culture of a store. Growth requires a standardization of hiring principles and practices.

Who now makes the final hiring decision when multiple stores are involved? With more employees, how do you continue to ef-fectively communicate a consistent message? Growth requires that you define the hiring standards in terms of experience required, desired personality traits and decide who will now make final hiring decisions. If store managers are responsible for their individual teams but you allow a multi-store manager to make hiring decisions, then a store man-ager should have a way to offer input into that hiring decision. Failure here creates the potential of dysfunctional store teams. Failure to involve multi-store managers in the hiring process risks not having the right employees within the stores. When you had one store or just a few stores, it was easier to control the hiring decisions. One store owner I met said he decided to not add stores in his market (although the market needed more) because he wanted to know who he was hiring and wanted to know them as individuals.

Furniche.com founder Marty Grosse has 35 years of retail home furnishings experience. Contact him at [email protected].

So we get back to where you started. What is the success that has provided growth op-portunity? As you look back at home fur-nishings retailers that have grown, there’s usually a story or unique retail concept. It might have been selling furniture door to door, setting up credit accounts or simply telling the truth and selling cheap.

Preserving what has created success is eas-ily lost in translation with growth. The furniture landscape is littered with large companies that have long exited the furniture arena. Certainly the challenges of growth are more than just personnel decisions. However, great teams of people with strong leadership can insure the larg-est companies continue to do what they did when they were little guys that turned

into big guys.


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Furniture shopping has never been more complex—and neither has furniture selling. Mass advertising is no longer enough to sell more sofas and bedroom sets. Consumers shop across multiple channels, have little brand loyalty,

and a staggering 81 percent have already done extensive research online before they even step into your store.

Despite the increase in digital channel usage, brick-and-mortar establishments will continue to be an important channel for furniture retail. According to McKinsey & Company, in 2020, more than 80 percent of U.S. retail sales will still happen within the four walls of a store. Consumers still want to lay down on a new mattress, lounge on a recliner and feel the fabric of a sofa before they purchase.

While consumers may begin their path to purchase digitally, fur-niture retailers can take action to drive these digital consumers into their stores. To do so, retailers must first have a comprehen-sive understanding of their customers and what drives them to purchase. By implementing a solution to manage and analyze customer data, the right offers can be aligned to the right consum-ers to ultimately drive more sales.

Here are some critical stepsto help you get started:Pull Your Data into a Marketing Database—Consumers are rich resources of information, producing loads of data as they engage with your brand across channels such as billing departments, point-of-sale, digital media, customer service centers, email and more. Because this data is often stored in multiple systems across the company, marketing departments are heavily reliant on IT departments to access this data for any type of evaluation.

By integrating this customer information into a marketing data-base, marketers can easily perform analytics to better understand customers, what they value, and ultimately, what will motivate them to buy more furniture.

Drive More Digital Consumers into Your Furniture StoreBy Anders Ekman

We recently worked with a regional, multi-chain furniture store struggling to evaluate its marketing data to better target consum-ers for acquisition and retention.

The chain’s data was in multiple systems, and duplicate customer records caused a high level of wasted marketing expenditures. We cleaned and integrated seven sources of data, including point-of-sale, credit data, and online behavior, and delivered a fully functional database in eight weeks.

When implementing a marketing database, look for a data solu-tions provider that can

• Perform a business needs analysis to help you determine what data should be integrated, how you prefer to ac-cess the data, and other strategic goals you are trying to accomplish.

• Implement a software solution to integrate multiple data sources and types, eliminate duplicate data, and consoli-date customer data into a single record.

• Append missing customer information, such as house-hold income, age, occupation, hobbies, and other key demographic and psychographic attributes for a more complete view of the customer.

Identify Your Best Customers—With an integrated marketing database in place, key characteristics can easily be evaluated to identify high-value customer segments and analyze various traits such as:

• Behaviors—characteristics such as purchase frequency and channel purchase. For example, did a customer respond to an email, direct mail piece, or browse online before visiting your store?

• Demographics—factual characteristics, such as age, gender, occupation, and income. For example, are the

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majority of your customers female or male? What is their average income? What is the square footage of their home?

• Psychographics—values, att i tudes, l i festyles . Psychographic information answers questions such as what motivates your customers to buy your products and services? What are their key values? What are their hobbies and habits?

• Value-Based—actual or potential revenue of customers and prospects and the costs of maintaining relationships with them. Analyzing these attributes will help your home furnishings store better allocate resources to the most-profitable customer groups.

Our furniture client uses a business intelligence tool to perform a variety of customer-centric analytics based on these characteristics as well as online behavior and in-store purchase history trending over more than seven years.

For example, they can identify a customer subset that has pur-chased from certain categories (living room, home office) and append with updated address and demographic data to execute onboarding campaigns for different promotions.

One of the many nice things behind analytics is that they can be used to identify a variety of other opportunities as well, such as sales trending by store location or which customer segments are most ideal for cross-sell and up-sell offers.

Find Look-Alike Prospects Near Your Stores—With an under-standing of your high-value customers, you can apply the same characteristics to identify profitable prospect segments.

Begin by matching your Best Customer Profile against a consumer prospect database to identify look-alike prospect segments based on characteristics such as income, home ownership, occupation, home square footage and home decorating interests.

Retailers can evaluate any number of demographics to help them establish a best customer profile.

Continued on page 59

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These prospects can then be mapped within a certain distance from your stores for targeted acquisition campaigns.

Market to Consumers Across Channels with Targeted Campaigns—Reaching potential customers can span any number of channels. For example, Millennials will respond best to social media and mobile, where most of them already get their news and stay connected with one another. Other segments such as Baby Boomers are more likely to respond to personalized email of direct-mail campaigns.

Take a look at some of these compelling statistics from retailers using data-driven direct mail and email campaigns:

• 44 percent of consumers made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email they received. (Convince and Convert)

• 60 percent of marketers say that email marketing is pro-ducing an ROI for their organization. (MarketingSherpa)

• On average, direct mail advertising gives a business a 13 to 1 return on investment. (DMA)

• 70 percent of customers renew a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion. (DMA)

Mining opportunities—The furniture retailer we work with uses profiling and behavioral trigger-based marketing automation as part of their campaign process to find new opportunities:

• Use of purchase history to determine when it’s time to buy something new.

• Cross merchandising (When you buy a bed, get $100 off a new mattress).

• Frequency campaigns (We haven’t seen you in a while).

• Special events and direct mail campaigns (private shop-ping events and special store events based on a customer’s location and total sales amount).

Successful customer acquisition requires having the right marketing data to develop your own unique mix of audiences, channels, and messaging. And with the right mix, you can power your company’s growth with loyal customers and more furniture sales.

Anders Ekman, president of DataMentors, has brought data-driven innovation to clients including MasterCard and Kohl’s. Anders has also worked with well-known brands such as GM and AT&T Wireless. He can be reached at [email protected].

Clicks to Bricks - Continued from page 57

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OK, maybe not in them, but in selling them. Here’s how to increase sales.BY GERRY MORRIS

in MattressesThere’s

I’m no genius, but I’ll make the argument that Leo’s quote should be made into a circular truism with an asterisk: *Predicated by a comfortable, quality mattress!

When it comes to improving not only one’s day, but also most every aspect of one’s life, there may be no better consumer product one can buy than a mattress.

The flip side of that for home furnishings retailers is, there may be no better product to sell. Everyone who sleeps is a potential customer. Everyone sleeps on a mattress every night. They wear out and are rejuvenated in a continuous, never-ending cycle.

More and more retailers have discovered that mattresses are hands down the most profitable square footage and offer the highest GMROI of any home furnishings product, period.

In recent years, sleep specialty stores and non-traditional categories of retailers have garnered sizable shares of the market. But the great news for home furnishings retailers is that they are in a unique position to grow market share and get a bigger piece of that huge and most profitable pie.

Consumers naturally associate mattresses with home furnishings and many begin their shopping excursions there. Everyday, poten-tial mattress customers walk the floor of home furnishing stores looking at other goods. Mattresses are the one product that every retail sales associate can mention to every shopper.

Turn to page 62 for five ideas to help grow your mattress sales.

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.”—Leonardo da Vinci

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Spread the Good NewsMake mattresses a part of every ad. Remember though, you get what you ask for. Don’t use “swing-the-door mar-

keting,” low price, big discounts, long financing and free services, as the main reason for prospective shoppers to give you consideration. You’ll just be put on the list as a stopover for people going from store to store on a mission seeking that elusive best value.

Rather, entice them with the prospect of blissful sleep. Through lifestyle images and coaxing commentary, give them a glimpse of what life can be! Engaging the imagination evokes the emotion that compels people to take action. Don’t be afraid to advertise your more expensive products so as not to sabotage your sales associates by being the bearer of bad news.

Wow ‘emContinue that message with a mattress department that entices shoppers to lie down and experience your prod-

ucts. More and more retailers are creating warm inviting environ-ments using lifestyle images, clean, uncluttered, well-designed floor plans and soft lighting with more focus upon the product than the point of purchase materials. Create an atmosphere that compels shoppers to tell their friends, “You should shop there, it’s amazing!”

SimplifySimplify the selection and the process. More is not always better. While research shows that a large selection of products may drive traffic to some extent, fewer choices

drive more sales. With too many choices, shoppers (and sales as-sociates) can feel overwhelmed and are reluctant to “pull the trigger” because of confusion and lack of confidence.

Better to have more distinctive comfort and price choices than too much duplication with only slight and subtle variances.

Adopt a more simple and effective selling procedure. I recommend “Guided Discovery” a goal oriented conversation instead of a one-sided presentation. The focus is on the outcome rather than the procedure. Sales associates can empower shoppers by engaging them in the process and encouraging them to choose to buy rather than to be sold. Shoppers perceiving a motive of serving instead of selling will more likely choose to buy.

Be PreparedYears ago I was stunned when I saw a quote from, then-Simmons CEO Charlie Eitel stating that in his opinion,

the biggest challenge the bedding industry faced was sales training.

But when you think about it, Eitel made perfect sense, especially considering that everything manufacturers and retailers do to bring finished products to the point of sale hinges on the conversation between the sales associate and shopper.

Gerry Morris has more than 20 years experience in the mattress industry. In partnership with The Furniture Training Co., they offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” To view the course, visit furnituretrainingcompany.com.

Today’s emboldened shoppers are often more prepared than many sales people. It is imperative that your employees receive quality ongoing training. Shoppers encountering those not up to the task quickly become “just lookers”—an amorphous category of likely buyers who elect to take their business elsewhere. Effective training must be an ongoing process.

Close the SaleHome furnishings sales associates have to be able to change hats. Meaning, they must understand the differ-

ence in attitude from a browsing furniture shopper to a mattress shopper on a mission.

Trying to close the sale on someone getting ideas for their future home is as big a mistake as not trying to close the sale on a mat-tress shopper. No one browses for a mattress. Shoppers are buyers.

Keep in mind there is no one perfect bed for each shopper. Odds are you have several models that would satisfy any given shopper. Odds are too that you probably have competitive prices. Given that, one could consider it a responsibility for your sales staff to close most every sale.

Your shoppers have chosen to give you a chance to earn their busi-ness and willingly invest their time for you to do so. If your em-ployees don’t close the sale, they do a disservice and waste everyone’s time. That is, except your competitor who will likely make the sale.

All AboardMattresses are one product that everyone can rally round. When I was a manufacturer’s representative, my best customer had been successfully selling mattresses for more than 50 years. It was their priority and their foundational category for driving sales. It all stemmed from a culture created by the founder who said, “The two most important products anyone can buy are a pair of shoes and a mattress. Everyone spends half their day in each.”

So understand that many people will spend their entire lives never experiencing the deep down restorative sleep that top-quality mat-tresses can provide. This is your chance to change that.

A great way to create a culture of selling mattresses is to encourage (code for mandate) your sales staff to walk their talk by invest-ing in and sleeping on quality mattresses themselves. There’s no greater selling point than a personal testimony about the positive life-improving impact of sleeping well on a quality mattress. Make it a mission to help as many people as possible share that same experience. It can be your contribution to humanity in your own little corner of the world.

Prioritize your mattress sales and watch your business grow.


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Run Smarter.

with unmatched inventoryaccuracy

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Don’t Miss the Big Stuff Happening This Spring!Learn Achieve Network

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vBoConcept’s Intriguing Ad ConceptDanish style icons actor Mads Mikkelsen and retailer BoConcept have teamed up to create a six-minute drama, The Call. In this short, Mikkelsen plays himself running lines with fellow Danish actress Malin Buska; the whole time Mikkelsen is interrupted by phone calls from someone the viewer, and Malin, assume is a love interest.

The setting, of course, designed by BoConcept, is a stylish showcase of BoConcept furniture with a nod to its professional interior de-sign services. The short was shot on location in Spain at BoConcept designer Morten Georgsen’s villa. “It was a thrill to see my house and some of my own designs being part of a great drama with a star like Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role,” Georgsen said. The film is available on YouTube and BoConcept’s website. BoConcept USA stores are NAHFA members.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen stars in a six-minute drama produced by retailer BoConcept. The company’s iconic Imola chair steals the final scene.

Scan the QR code or follow this link bit.ly/1zm2JBX to watch star actor Mads Mikkelsen unfold his talent in The Call. Mads’ irresistibly charming role rehearses lines with his beautiful co-star, but suddenly the mood changes.

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The Scoop

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vNAHFA Member Circle Furniture Hosts Fashion Show

Cambridge, Mass.-based Circle Furniture recently opened its Boston showroom to students of the fashion program at Bay State College for its Get off the Couch Fashion Show. About 80 people attended the event which was a showcase of the students’ projects. It was completely student run, according to Circle’s communi-cations director, Erica Tubman. The students were in charge of

everything from promoting the show to the general public to set up and design.

“We are always thrilled to be involved in community activities,” Tubman said. “This is actually our second fashion show. We hosted an emerging artists’ event last year for Boston Fashion week.”

Circle furniture turned over its Boston showroom to students from Bay State College for their Get off the Couch Fashion Show which showcased their class projects on the runway.

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Contact Our AdvertisersWhen contacting our advertisers, please be sure to mention that you saw their ads in RetailerNOW.

For information on advertising in RetailerNOW contact

Michelle Nygaard (916) 757-1160

RetailerNOW is the only association publication delivered to dedicated home furnishings retailers across the U.S. and

Canada. We’re devoted to helping

furntiure retailers grow their businesses—

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Furniche(210) 473-9508Furniche.com


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http://tinyurl.com/HighPtMarket @hpmarketnews

Page 5

Horich Hector Lebow(800) 878-8989 hhladv.comPage 67

Jaipur Rugs(404) 351-2360jaipurrugs.com


Inside Back Cover

Knorr Marketing(231) 534-9700KnorrMarketing.Com

KnorrMarketing Page 37

LendPro (434) 202-0137mylendpro.com

mylendproPage 16

Lynch Sales Company (616) 458-6662lynchsales.com


Page 70

MicroD(800) 964-3876microdinc.com


Back Cover

Myriad(800) 676-4243 myriadsoftware.com

MyriadPage 25

Northwest Furniture Xpress(828) 475-6377nwfxpress.comPage 61

Nourison(201) 368-6900 nourison.com


Page 27

ProfitSystems(800) 888-5565 profitsystems.com


Poster Insert

Spectrum Marketing 603-627-0042Spectrummarketing.com

Spectrum Marketing Companies@spectrummc

Page 55

STORIS(888) 4-STORISstoris.com


Page 11

Surya(877) 275-7847surya.com


Inside Cover Synchrony Financial(800) 422-3778 nahfa.orgPage 3 Tidewater Finance Company(800) 535-4087 x6553tidewaterfinance.com

Tidewater Finance Company@TidewaterMotor

Page 59

TruckSkin(877) 866-7546 truckskin.com


Page 23

Page 76: April 2015 — Hacked

72 A P R I L | 2 0 1 5 www.retailerNOWmag.com

The Now ListA quick dose of fun facts, random trivia, and useful

(or useless) bits of info

The Now List

Sources: FLOWN Mobilier Airline, Prosauker, Experian Marketing Services, Flurry, Meb-rure.com, American Philosophical Society, Earthday.org, 7760.org

Thanks for the Swivel Thomas Jefferson made the swivel chair popular. He reportedly sat in this Windsor swivel chair as he wrote the Declaration of Independence (he added a writing arm to it later at Monticello). The chair is on exhibit at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

Social Mishaps70% of employers said they’ve taken some sort of disciplinary action against employees over alleged social media misdeeds, double the number in the 2012 edition of the survey.

Roosevelt RugA rug that belonged to Franklin Delano Roosevelt was recently discovered in a New Jersey couple’s home. The 12’ x 19’ Oriental was sold to an anonymous bidder when the National Park Service acquired FDR’s Hyde Park home after his mother’s death. The couple donated it to the FDR Library and Museum.

Be Mobile-FriendlyConsumers read 53% of their emails on mobile devices in the third quarter of last year.

Silky SeatDesigner Meb Rure’s Recycled Silk furniture series is hand crafted from American white oak and recycled silk ribbons from saris, a traditional cloth worn by Indian and Nepalese women. The series includes a chair ($2,580), ottoman ($840) and stool ($690).

More Mobile NewsSmartphone users actively engaged with mobile applications 76% more often in 2014 than in 2013; compared with a year earlier, according to app analytics firm Flurry. It pegged mobile shopping as the biggest gainer, growing 174% on iOS and Android platforms combined.

Mother Earth This is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22). This year EarthDay.org is promoting its Pledge to Plant campaign with hopes of having 1 billion seeds/trees planted this year.

High HopesU.S. small-business owners are the most optimistic they have been in seven years, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. Owners are more positive about both their current and future situations.

Winging ItThe Cantilevers desk, designed by a French company, FLOWN, is crafted from a Boeing 737-800 winglet (a wing tip extension that gives extra lift). Boeing winglets cost about $725k. The winglet is about 13’ long and the base of the desk is granite.

A Matter of PerspectiveHigh Point Market boasts 11.5 million square feet of showroom space. That’s about 264 acres or about 203 football fields, or almost double the size of the Pentagon (6.6 million square feet), or about the same area as all the lawns—250 acres—in Central Park. By contrast Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ property in Florida covers 27,258 acres and includes 36 hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 golf courses, one 9-hole golf course, 2 miniature golf courses, a camping resort, a residential area and other recreational and entertainment venues.

A New Twist on Joints London-based designers Ryan Yoon and Harc Lee of Ryan Harc created a new furniture joinery system named rabbit joint, thanks to its resemblance to rabbit ears. Six rabbit joints made of bio resin are used in the Rabbit Joint Chair to hold the seat, back and legs together.

Page 77: April 2015 — Hacked



© 2015 National Geographic Society. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and Yellow Border Design are trademarks of the National Geographic Society, used under license. All rights reserved.

See us in High Point4/18 - 4/23

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